At VENA Health and Wellness, we enjoy helping patients address concerns related to venous insufficiency. As you consider your options for eliminating frustrating spider veins, know that your treatment options can be tailored to your preferences and needs. If you have questions regarding what those options may be, do not hesitate to contact one of our convenient locations in Western Pennsylvania.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins get their name for their webbed appearance. These superficial vessels are just beneath the surface of the skin so, although they are rather small, they are highly visible and often unsightly. This is the primary concern for most patients. There is also the potential for symptoms, like burning or itching, to develop if the small clusters of veins become swollen. We usually see spider veins in the ankles, knees, and/or thighs. However, these dilated veins can occur anywhere, even on the face. Many people choose to have these veins treated for cosmetic reasons. Spider vein treatment means regaining the ability to wear warm-weather clothing like shorts and bathing suits without feeling self-conscious.
Causes of Spider Veins
Research on venous insufficiency has not yet discovered the cause of spider veins, or why some people develop these clusters of red and blue veins and others do not. What we do know is that veins begin to dilate when venous reflux occurs. Venous reflux is the backup of blood in a vein under pressure. When pressure increases in these small vessels, the resulting swelling increases the visibility of these veins. While underlying health issues may not coincide with the development of visible spider veins, the cosmetic concerns alone are reason enough to obtain treatment.
What are the risk factors for spider veins?
Some of the conditions that could instigate the development of spider veins include:
- Shifting hormones through menstrual cycles or menopause
- Sun exposure
- Family history
- Sedentary lifestyle
Can Spider Veins be Prevented?
There are certain factors related to spider veins that are within one’s control, such as weight, sun exposure, and level of activity. Making healthy choices in everyday life may mitigate uncontrollable factors such as family history and aging. At this time, the biggest recommendation for reducing the risk for spider veins is to walk frequently and maintain a healthy weight.
Does insurance cover spider vein treatment?
Some insurance companies do offer coverage for vein treatments, especially if the veins are symptomatic. The process for gaining approval and obtaining payment may be somewhat complex. Our experienced administrative staff will assist you in understanding your benefits, and will work with your insurance company to attain the necessary approval for your treatment if your plan covers the treatment. Contact a VENA Health and Wellness office near you for more information.
How are spider veins treated?
Sclerotherapy is the mainstay of treatment for spider veins. Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical technique that is performed in the office without the need for any anesthesia or sedation. This treatment has been used to treat spider veins for over 50 years and has been proven to be safe and effective. We rely on sclerotherapy because we know it works. Sometimes more than one treatment session is required to obtain maximum benefit.
The treatment process usually takes less than an hour. We begin by cleaning the skin with an antibacterial solution. A tiny needle is then used to administer a pharmaceutical solution into the veins. This is referred to as a sclerosing agent, because the drug ultimately causes vein closure. A sclerosing agent works by slightly irritating the walls of the dilated vein. As a result of this controlled irritation, the vein gradually narrows until it closes completely. The closed vein is then absorbed, which makes it disappear. Blood that would have traveled through the closed vein reroutes to nearby vessels that are open and function normally.
Sclerotherapy is a minor procedure that has maximum impact on spider veins. Patients appreciate the gentleness of this technique, and the shortness of their recovery time. Walking and most normal activities can be resumed shortly after treatment.
Is spider vein treatment painful?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment that is performed with a very small needle which is about the size of an eyelash. Minor pinching or stinging has been noticed by a minority of patients as the medication is being administered into veins. Most patients describe their vein treatment experience as a pleasant experience.