Spider Veins Vs Varicose Veins
If you have read through any of our other blog articles, by now you would be familiar with what varicose veins are, how varicose veins are formed and what are the available treatment options at our clinic and elsewhere in Chennai.
Spider veins are small, typically damaged veins that can become visible on the surface of the skin, usually skin or face. They are not painful or harmful. How and why do these spider veins form?
Veins carry blood to our heart. They are a one way channel similar to arteries which does the opposite job. They contain valves which restrict the flow of blood in only one direction. When these valves are damaged or become weak for various reasons such as age or any other reason, the blood will not be moved to the heart easily and gets stuck in that areas causing them to bulge. These bulged veins are called spider veins and the colour one can notice is red, blue or purple.
Difference between Spider Veins and Varicose Veins:
Varicose veins are larger and more prominently visible when they form. They form as lumps or twisted and doesn’t have any colour most of the times. Some times, they may look red in colour.
Whereas spider veins are small, thin lines that may be little raised than varicose veins. They are often blue, red or purple and the colour is clearly visible in most cases.
Symptoms of varicose veins:
- Swelling of legs and/or ankles
- Pain and heavy feeling in legs.
What causes spider veins?
As said, when the valves inside the veins become weak, the veins swell / bulge causing this condition. Some prefer to get them treated and some will leave it as it is because they are not painful or harmful. Most people get it done for cosmetic reasons. Here are some risk factors that result in Spider Veins:
- Pregnancy – Due to higher blood flow during pregnancy, some women might notice spider veins in legs. Most of the times, they disappear after delivery but for some, they remain permanent.
- Women are more susceptible to spider veins than men.
- Spider veins form for some who are old. Age is a factor, with age, the valves in the veins weaken causing this condition.
- Being overweight, sitting for a long time, sun damage, genetics are other reasons why spider veins are formed.
Treatment options for spider veins:
Mostly they are harmless but as said, some prefer to get them treated for cosmetic reasons.
- If these spider veins are formed on legs, compression stockings can help reduce the swelling.
Types of compression stockings:
- Support pantyhose – they provide light pressure on the veins
- Gradient compression stockings and socks – for medium pressure
- Prescription compression stockings – for maximum pressure to legs and feet.
- Sclerotherapy and closure system
In this type of treatment, an irritant is injected directly into the affected vein. When the walls of veins get irritated, they stop the blood flow through them in that area. This can reduce swelling and makes the vein to shrink in size.
Who can perform this procedure?
- Veins specialist (at Laser Vein Clinic)
- Plastic Surgeons
- Cosmetic Surgeons
- Trained Nurses.
- Laser Treatment (Our specialty)
Our trained professionals use laser to treat spider veins that are smaller than 3mm and are closer to the surface of the skin. The strong laser causes the veins to clot and dry up as a result of which they get dis-coloured and shrink. This is a preferred approach than the injection method because it is less invasive and can be treated as day procedure.
- Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
This method is employed to treat spider veins and small varicose veins. Doctor / The specialist will have to make a small incision in the affected vein and inserts a laser fiber. This fiber applies heat directly to the vein and causes it to collapse. However, this may take up to a year to make the swelling to disappear. This procedure is done under local anesthesia.