Small and Medium Veins Symptoms (Spider Veins)
Symptoms of small vein disease known as spider veins, or telangiectasia, are not only cosmetic, but are also physical. These physical symptoms are often not even associated with vein disease in the patient’s own mind. Visually, spider veins are small, thin, bluish-purple or red veins that can be found on the skin anywhere from head to toe, including the face.
Medium vein disease, or reticular vein disease, present as blue/grayish veins that crisscross the surface of the legs, sometimes making legs look like a roadmap. They, too, are abnormal and require treatment and are often the veins that feed the spider veins overlying them.
Since vein disease progresses slowly, many of the physical symptoms also develop slowly. Consequently, many individuals feel that the heaviness, aching, cramping and restlessness in their legs are all age related and not necessarily indicators of something more serious than just unsightly legs. In fact these symptoms result from an underlying abnormal circulatory deficiency resulting from the vein disease.
As with large vein disease, spider veins and reticular veins are also primarily an inherited condition. They can be present with or without ropy, large veins. They can be affected by hormonal changes, pregnancy, weight gain, aging, long periods of standing and even injuries to the leg. These factors, like pregnancy, do not typically give rise to vein disease as often believed, but can accelerate an ever present genetic predisposition for vein disease. This is why only those pregnant women who carry the genetic trait for vein disease will get spider or reticular veins, approximately one in three women.
Sclerotherapy is the treatment of choice for both spider veins and reticular veins. The technique involves injecting a FDA approved chemical sclerosant into the abnormal veins using an extremely small needle and syringe. The desired effect is to damage the inside lumen of the vessel such that the vessel closes down and dies; eventually getting reabsorbed by the body. Sclerotherapy is not painless. The typical patient will feel a small sting from the needle followed by a mild burning from the sclerosant. This burning will usually remain for only a few seconds before dissipating.
Some practices may treat small and medium veins with microphlebectomy, a procedure using local anesthesia that numbs the surrounding tissue and allows for the removal of these veins through tiny incisions. However, this procedure, also called “stripping,” is not utilized at The Sheen Vein Institute since sclerotherapy is less invasive and produces better results without the scarring.
Vein disease did not develop overnight and it will not go away overnight. For most individuals, it can take a series of office visits over a two or three month period in order to properly treat an individual’s large ropy, spider and/or reticular veins.