Spider veins are blue or red veins visible on the skin's surface. They are often shaped like spider webs and are commonly found on the ankles, thighs, legs, or face. People plagued with spider veins sometimes choose to undergo a spider vein treatment to eliminate them. The two most common forms of treatment for spider veins are sclerotherapy and laser treatment.
Sclerotherapy is a spider vein treatment that involves the injection of liquid into the spider veins in order to cause them to collapse. Hypertonic saline and sodium tetradecyl sulfate are the two most common substances injected into spider veins in order to eradicate them. After the procedure, the spider veins turns into scar tissue which gradually fade over time. The procedure is relatively painless and lasts between five minutes to one hour, depending on the number of veins requiring elimination.
After the procedure, the doctor will instruct the patient to wear compression hose or an elastic bandage for about three to ten days. Patients should avoid hot baths, alcohol, and exercise for two to three days following sclerotherapy. Up to six treatments may be necessary in order to successfully treat spider veins. Sclerotherapy is generally considered safe for most patients. Obese people, those with blood clots in deeper veins, people who are allergic to hypertonic saline and sodium tetradecyl sulfate, pregnant women, and patients with blocked blood flow in the artery near the spider vein should not undergo sclerotherapy.
Laser treatment is another spider vein treatment plastic surgeons use to eliminate spider veins from their patients. A laser is passed over the patient's spider veins, causing the veins to coagulate and shrink. This particular type of procedure may be more painful than sclerotherapy. The sensation is generally described as having a rubber band snapped against the skin.
After laser treatment, the spider veins appear darker, but as the weeks pass, they begin to fade. Usually about three treatments are required in order to successfully eliminate the veins. This particular spider vein treatment can cause temporary discoloration of the skin or scarring.
Several factors can cause spider veins. For example, those who do not engage in sufficient physical activity can sometimes have this problem. Weight gain, pregnancy, and standing for a long length of time may also contribute to spider veins. Elderly people and those with a family history of spider veins are candidates for these veins as well. In some cases, spider veins can be caused by certain medical conditions such as phlebitis (an inflammation of the veins), blood clots, and congenital vein abnormalities.