Spider veins (also known as Telangiectasia) are small purple to red blood vessels often visible on the leg, arms, ankle or foot. Occasionally, spider veins will appear on the face. The cause is unknown, but heredity plays a strong role in the development of this condition. These should not be confused with varicose veins, which are larger, deeper veins that are usually lumpy and sometimes deeper purple in color. Varicose veins may sometimes cause leg discomfort, whereas spider veins are usually pain free.
Spider veins are progressive, and usually increase in number and visibility with age.
The oldest and most common treatment for spider veins on the legs is Sclerotherapy. This involves injection of a sclerosing agent into the veins, which irritates the vessels, causing them to scar and become less noticeable. Some surgeons use a concentrated (hypertonic) saline solution, while others use different sclerosing agents. Often, the veins do not actually go away, but become less visible because of the reaction around the walls of the vein. The injections may sting a bit, especially if saline is used, but the discomfort does not last long.
Another treatment, which is sometimes effective, is the use of laser. This is especially true in the facial area, where the laser may be the preferred method of treatment.
Deep veins and varicose veins are not effectively treated with these methods. In order to treat varicose veins, surgery is usually performed for optimal results. Some differences regarding varicose veins include:
More than one treatment is often required, since all the veins will not respond to the first treatment. Also, since this is a progressive condition, the patient can expect new spider veins to occur over time, which may require treatment every few years to maintain the improvement.
Some of the benefits of the treatment are: