Spider Veins and Reticular Veins – How Are They Treated?
Spider veins are small blue or red vessels visible within the surface of the skin, usually on the legs, face, neck or chest. There is usually a hereditary component, so if your parents or other relatives have spider veins, you are more likely to have them as well. Female hormones such as estrogen and progesterone can worsen them, and they may appear on the face as a result of aging and sun exposure. Spider veins may be seen following trauma.
Reticular veins are also surface veins, only they are larger than spider veins and often look like small varicose veins under the skin surface. As with other superficial veins, the treatment is elimination. This can be performed safely, because they aren’t necessary.
Spider veins sometimes cause symptoms such as pain, itching, or stinging. They have little medical significance, other than that they may bleed spontaneously, if they are dense, particularly in the lower leg and ankle areas.
Reticular veins that are more severe can cause a bit of pain in the area near the veins. You could also call it a discomfort or an ache that surrounds the area. If not treated, spider veins may grow off of them like leaves on a tree. This is why reticular veins are also sometimes called feeder veins.
Sclerotherapy – The Gold Standard
The gold standard for treatment of spider veins on the legs, and reticular veins any place on the body is sclerotherapy. Lasers may be used, but are generally less effective for spider veins and rarely useful at all for reticular veins. The same is true for the Ohmic Thermolysis devices such as the Vein Wave and VeinGogh™. The laser and VeinGogh can both be used effectively on facial spider veins.
Sclerotherapy is performed in an office setting. Numbing cream can be applied for a small additional fee, if the patient chooses. Injection sessions are roughly 20 minutes. Sclerotherapy is a process, and may take multiple sessions to obtain the results you want.
Significant improvement should be seen after two sessions in a given area, and may see it after one session. It’s important to know that spider veins are treated, but not cured. Patients will come back periodically to be retreated. The interval between the periodic retreatment varies. While some patients chose to be retreated yearly, most are retreated at multiple year intervals.
Dr. Bardwil states, “We use different solutions for sclerotherapy. While patients are familiar with saline, most established vein centers use better agents.”
We also perform foam sclerotherapy, which involves combining gas to the liquid to make it foamy or frothy. The solutions work better in this state. The blood is displaced better, there is more surface area contact, and there is less risk for skin breakdown. The foam sclerotherapy is preferred in treating reticular veins and small varicose veins.
Support hose are recommended during treatment. The goal is significant improvement, evident on the pictures taken before and after treatment.
The surface laser can also be used for the treatment of spider veins. Although laser helps rid patients of undesirable leg, face, neck or chest veins, the results with leg veins are less predictable than sclerotherapy. In this practice, it is relegated to an adjunct to sclerotherapy. We are very selective with use of the laser in treating spider veins.
VeinGogh is an Ohmic Thermolysis System that utilizes heat to cauterize the spider veins. With its insulated, hair-thin probe, it works well on spider veins located on the face. We were the first in Houston to offer this device to treat spider veins.
Dr. Bardwil will discuss potential risks and benefits in detail during your initial consultation.
Don’t Wait Another Day
If you are tired of the discomfort and pain associated with spider veins, don’t wait another day to do something about it. Call Texas Vein and Cosmetic Specialists today and schedule a comprehensive consultation. We can help you decide what the best treatment options are for your spider and reticular veins.
Before & After