What are Varicose and Spider Veins? How Do Dermatologists Treat Them?

Having spider or varicose veins can cause trouble and affect more than your appearance. Sometimes, these veins may cause severe discomfort as they put you at risk of complications like sores on your legs or even the formation of a blood clot.

However, some minimally invasive treatments from reliable skin specialists can help get rid of these faded leg veins. Treatments can also prevent complications and help in diminishing symptoms like fatigue and pain.

Why are these leg veins visible? Why do we get them?

Varicose veins, also known as spider veins, are damaged veins. When tiny, one-way valves inside the veins weaken, we develop them. 

Typically, these valves in a healthy body push blood in one direction back to the heart. When these blood valves weaken, a little amount of blood flows backward. That blood then accumulates in the vein. There is pressure on the vein walls, and due to that extra blood, the vein walls weaken and bulge due to this continual pressure. And after some time, we see a varicose or spider vein.

Spider Veins Causes Why?

Significant Causes of Spider Veins 

Most people have a higher risk of developing these veins because of family history in their blood relations. The other common cause to get them is because people sit or stand for long periods most days of the week. Other reasons involve sunlight, hormonal changes, or an injury. Additionally, these veins also become more common during pregnancy or with age.

How do dermatologists treat these leg veins?

A professional skin specialist may give you a wide variety of treatment options, from self-care to minor surgery for spider veins. Let’s see a few cures in detail:

Self-care

Nevertheless, taking good care of your health is a key to a healthy life, and as it is well said that prevention is better than cure. Therefore, to improve blood circulation and prevent spider veins, your dermatologist may suggest the following tips and tricks:

  1. Exercise daily
  2. Elevate your legs after short intervals
  3. Don’t Sit for long periods. Get up and walk around every 30 minutes
  4. Don’t Stand for long periods. Take a break every 30 minutes
  5. Avoid soaking in hot baths for long periods continuously.

These self-care tips will not only help in getting rid of these veins. Instead, they can help prevent new varicose and spider veins.

  1. Compression stockings

These stockings help apply steady pressure to enable move the blood back to your heart. That pressure also helps decrease swelling in your lower legs, ultimately reducing the risk of getting a blood clot. However, a skin specialist can examine you to get the proper size and right amount of pressure if you need compression stockings. You will still have visible leg veins, though.

  1. Sclerotherapy

It is considered the most common treatment for leg veins. Over the years, dermatologists have improved the process of sclerotherapy to give patients better results and to make it safer. Most skin specialists primarily use this treatment method for varicose and spider veins.

The process of sclerotherapy mainly includes the following steps:

  1. First of all, your concerned dermatologist injects chemicals, by which the vein walls get irritated, at different areas of the vein. 
  2. Then, he may massage the area after the injections.
  3. The experienced skin specialist then places a compression stocking on each leg.
  4. You will be observed for a time and then allowed to go home.

After-care steps 

  1. You will need to take daily walks and wear compression stockings as directed.
  2. To help prevent possible side effects, most patients wear compression stockings for 2 to 3 weeks.
  3. You can return to work and most activities the next day of the procedure.
  4. The blood cannot flow through it anymore as sclerotherapy causes the walls of the vein to stick together
  5. That improves circulation in the treated leg and reduces swelling in the patient’s legs. 
  6. Endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA)

EVLT and RFA are new types of skin treatments. They usually replace the need to remove a spider vein surgically. Both these treatments work inside the vein to destroy it. RFA is mainly used to treat large varicose veins, while most dermatologists use EVLT to treat spider veins and small varicose veins. 

Typically, both these processes involve the following steps:

  1. You receive some local anesthesia, which numbs the area to be treated. The anesthesia also causes the area to swell to some extent.
  2. Your concerned skin specialist then inserts a laser fiber (for EVLT) or catheter (for RFA) into the vein by making a small incision. 
  3. Then, the dermatologist activates the laser or radiofrequency device and heats the vein. That heat causes it to collapse and seal shut. The heat does not harm the affected area’s 
  4. surroundings  
  5. A compression stocking is usually placed on each leg after treatment.
  6. You are observed for a time and then allowed to go home.
  7. You can return to your daily routine work the next day of your treatment.

Generally, you may need more than one treatment to get the best results. It takes about one year to disappear the varicose veins after the treatment with both EVLT and RFA.

After how long do spider or varicose veins disappear?

Varicose veins take about 3 to 4 months, and spider veins mostly disappear in 3 to 6 weeks. For best results, 2 to 3 sessions of sclerotherapy are usually needed. No anesthesia is required, and these treatments can perform in the skin specialist’s office or clinic. Primarily most patients can do their routine work the next day of treatment.

However, a few patients need to wear compression stockings for a short time after each treatment. Every patient is advised to protect the treated area from the sun for 3 to 4 weeks. Protecting your skin from sun rays helps prevent new spider veins and even skin cancer.

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