Spider veins are clusters of red, blue or purple veins that usually appear on the thighs, calves and ankles. It is estimated that 50% of the female population and 15-20% of males area afflicted with this condition. Spider veins are a result of excess blood in the blood stream backing up and creating new veins on the skin’s surface. Varicose veins are a different condition from spider veins, appearing as larger, darker and sometimes bulging veins. This is a condition that should be referred to a vascular surgeon for treatment. The causes of spider veins include:
- Weight gain
- Medications, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Chronic sun exposure
Treatment for Spider Veins:
The most successful treatment for spider veins is a procedure called Sclerotherapy, in which a sclerosing solution is injected into the vein with a very small needle, causing the vein to blanche and then disappear. An overwhelming percentage of patients who have Sclerotherapy are happy with the results. In the event that new spider veins emerge, treatment may have to be repeated normally about every 1-3 years.
Laser treatments are emerging as a solution for spider veins, but the consensus of most experts in this field conclude that Sclerotherapy is still the gold standard for resolution of this condition.