Spider Veins | Fort Worth, TX
As the number of candles multiplies on our birthday cakes, so do little red, purple, and blue squiggly clusters of lines on our calves and ankles. Spider veins. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins usually aren’t painful, but they are a pain to look at when we put on shorts, a skirt, or a bathing suit. At Southwest Vein & Leg Center of Fort Worth, TX, we remove spider veins with sclerotherapy and intense pulsed light treatments.
What Are Spider Veins?
Unlike varicose veins, which are large enough to push the surface skin upwards, spider veins don’t do that. They are tiny veins but since they are close to the surface skin their dark colors make them easily visible. Rather than a single raised varicose vein, spider veins usually show up in clusters where blood is being dispersed more widely. They aren’t painful, but they won’t go away on their own.
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What Causes The Formation Of Spider Veins?
It’s more common for women to develop spider veins, usually on the calves and ankles, but they can also form on the cheeks. The reason they form is mainly a combination of gravity and aging. Our veins return de-oxygenated blood to the heart. In the legs, this path is all uphill, fighting gravity every inch of the way. When we’re young our muscles and support tissues surrounding our veins help to push the blood upward. But as we age, all of those tissues begin to slacken somewhat, no longer providing the added support to push the blood through the vein. Also, the vein walls weaken and the one-way valves that prevent backflow can begin to fail or leak. This allows blood to pool, making the vein visible through the surface skin. This is how spider veins and varicose veins form.
Other factors that can increase your risk for developing spider veins are jobs that require prolonged sitting or standing, heredity, weight fluctuations, pregnancy, and hormonal changes.
Are Spider Veins Painful?
Because they are so small, spider veins usually aren’t painful. They don’t cause swelling like varicose veins. Most people have no symptoms of spider veins other than their ugly appearance on the legs.
How Are They Removed?
At Southwest Vein & Leg Center, we have two different methods for removing spider veins: sclerotherapy and intense pulsed light (IPL). We use sclerotherapy on larger spider veins. IPL works very well on small spider veins, particularly those on the cheeks.
Believe it or not, the most effective method for removing spider veins was originally developed in the 1930s! A tiny needle injects a special saline solution directly into the targeted spider vein. This solution irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to collapse and close off the vein. Once the spider vein is closed off, blood is instantly rerouted to healthier adjacent veins, and the body goes about the business of eventually absorbing and removing the now-unused vein. Sclerotherapy makes many veins instantly disappear completely; other veins initially lessen in appearance and then continue to fade away over the next few weeks.
Intense Pulsed Light
Although also light-based, intense pulsed light (IPL) is a little different from a laser. Lasers emit a narrow wavelength of light. Intense pulsed light, on the other hand, uses a broad spectrum of high-intensity light, emitted at multiple wavelengths. The dark color in the targeted vein absorbs the light energy and it converts to heat. This heat causes the blood in the vein to coagulate, making the vein walls collapse, closing off the vein.
See What Our Patients Are Saying:
I absolutely love the Southwest Vein & Leg Center. Dr. Menzies, Brad and Autum have been wonderful to work with. They are very courteous and professional along with very friendly and welcoming. I am very pleased with the way my treatment is going. I would highly recommend Southwest Vein and Leg Center to anyone with concerning vein issues. -Stacey G.
What Is The Recovery Like?
Whether we use sclerotherapy or IPL to remove your spider veins, after your treatment we’ll put you in a pair of compression stockings that provide support to help the body absorb the closed off veins. This is particularly important if you’ve had multiple veins treated. But you can return to all of your normal activities immediately after your treatment. As for exercise, keep it to walking on the day of your procedure.
You can return to any type of exercise the next day. You may have some slight aching across the treated veins, and possible slight bruising, but these reactions are normal and easy to tolerate.
Is There Any Harm Or Danger In Removing Spider Veins?
Removing spider veins is purely cosmetic. The procedures are simple and don’t require recovery time. There is very little risk in removing them.
Do I Need To Prepare Before My Treatment?
Staying hydrated prior to your appointment is really the only preparation necessary.
Can Spider Veins Recur?
The veins that are treated are closed off and the body will scavenge them and they will disappear. Blood will return to these veins again. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t develop new spider veins in the future, especially if you’re on your feet a lot or have to sit for prolonged periods.
We invite you to contact our practice today to learn more and to schedule an appointment.