Spider veins are veins that appear close to the surface of the skin. They are usually red or blue and can look like spider webs, tree branches or appear as thin, short jagged lines. They can appear anywhere, but are most common on the legs and face and appear in groups. As people age, more leg veins seem to appear. The three primary causes of spider veins are:
- Heredity: If other people in your family suffer from spider veins, you are more likely to develop them over time as well.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, hormonal shifts often increase pressure on the circulation, leading to spider vein growth.
- Prolonged sitting or standing: If your occupation or lifestyle entails standing up or sitting down for long periods of time, then increased venous pressure may cause spider veins.
Other less common causes of spider veins include excess sun exposure, chronic constipation, certain medications and birth control pills, weight gain, and wearing high-heeled shoes or tight clothing.
Treatments for Spider Veins include:
- Sclerotherapy – Sclerotherapy is a procedure involving the use of a syringe and needle to inject a solution into the vein, which causes it to collapse. Sclerotherapy has been effective for smaller veins, and often requires multiple injections and repeat treatments. Patients need to wear bandages or compression stockings for several days after treatment.
- Laser Treatment – This is different than the laser treatment for varicose veins. Varicose vein laser treatment (EVLT vein treatment) is inserting the laser fiber into the vein to close it. Spider vein laser treatment is using laser energy through the skin to irritate the vein and cause it to close. This is very effective. It works very well and smaller spider veins and abnormal veins on the face. The laser is safe for all skin types, but it may make some temporarily more susceptible to sun burn so sun screen is necessary.
- Combination of sclerotherapy and laser treatment – This is the best of both therapies. Usually, the sclerotherapy injections are used on the “feeder” veins and larger spider veins, and the laser is used on the smaller spider veins.