Medically referred to as telangiectasia, spider veins are small, visible veins — usually the smallest type of blood vessel, the capillaries. They’re found on the legs and sometimes on the face and appear as twisted red, purple, or blue lines forming a branched pattern that looks like a spider’s web.
Unlike the closely related varicose veins, spider veins don’t affect the texture of your skin, nor are they generally more than a cosmetic issue, though they sometimes produce an aching or burning sensation. If you leave them alone, you won’t do your body any harm, but you may feel self-conscious about your appearance and want them removed.
At Comprehensive Vascular Care, our expert team of vascular specialists offers spider vein treatment for their patients in the Southfield and Novi, Michigan areas, as well as a wide array of other vascular services. If you’re bothered by the look of your spider veins, Comprehensive Vascular Care is the place to go to get them removed.
The basics of spider veins
To understand why spider veins form, you need to know a bit about how veins work. Arteries are the main blood vessels that deliver oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body; the veins take the deoxygenated blood and move it back up to the heart. When the blood is coming from the lower extremities, the veins have to constantly fight the pull of gravity.
To compensate for the downward pull, veins contain one-way valves; each snaps closed after the blood passes through, ensuring it moves only forward. If the vein walls weaken (from an injury or high blood pressure), the valves can become damaged, too. They can’t close completely, and the blood can flow backward and pool. The increased pressure of the sluggish blood inside the vein is known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Where the blood pools, the veins carrying it become swollen, and since spider veins are close to the surface of your skin, they’re easily seen. The weblike patterns can sometimes grow quite large and become very noticeable.
When spider veins occur on the face, it’s often because the tiny blood vessels burst. This can be caused by a number of problems, including increased internal pressure, the sun’s UV rays, hormonal changes, or an injury.
How to get rid of your spider veins
At Comprehensive Vascular Care, we use sclerotherapy to treat spider veins effectively.
During sclerotherapy, your doctor injects your spider veins with a solution that irritates the vein lining, causing it to collapse. Your body then reroutes blood flow to healthy veins. There’s no special preparation, and you won’t need anesthesia. And while you may feel a tingling or burning sensation as the doctor injects the sclerosant, you may feel nothing at all.
Following the injection, the doctor massages the veins to encourage blood flow, and you’ll need to wear compression stockings for about two weeks. You’ll also need to be on your feet, not resting in bed all day, to prevent blood clots from forming. The most common adverse effects from the procedure are redness, bruising, and pain near the injection site.
Most people need 2-3 treatments to collapse the vein entirely, and you can expect the veins to fade away about three weeks after the last treatment.
Research suggests that sclerotherapy is effective 60-80% of the time. Your doctor continues to monitor you after the procedure to determine if you need further treatment.
If you’re bothered by the appearance of spider veins, Comprehensive Vascular Care can help you get rid of them. Call us at either of our locations to schedule a consultation with one of our vascular specialists, or book online with us today.