Spider veins have nothing to do with spiders and everything to do with the breakdown of the tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin. The result is a web-like pattern of damaged veins that may be the precursor to their bigger, 3-dimensional cousins, varicose veins.
Many people try to camouflage spider veins with heavy makeup or by wearing long pants even in the summer to avoid feeling self-conscious about their appearance. Here in Alexandria, Louisiana, our hot, humid summers make both of those options unbearable — so we have a better solution.
Why do I have spider veins?
Your veins play an important role in your circulatory system — they carry blood back to your heart after it’s made the long journey delivering oxygen to all your body parts. The trip from your feet requires an uphill climb against gravity that can take its toll on your veins if they aren’t in tip-top condition.
To aid the process, each vein contains a tiny one-way valve to prevent backflow and keep the blood moving upward. If those valves begin to fail, blood pools in the area and become visible through your skin. Age, pregnancy, genetics, and simply standing or sitting for long hours can contribute to poor vein health.
Spider veins can also appear on your face where it’s the sun, not gravity, to blame. Ultraviolet rays can damage your skin cells, dilate your blood vessels, and lead to spider veins on your cheeks, chin, and forehead.
How to banish your spider veins
As a board-certified cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon with many years of experience treating a broad spectrum of venous conditions, I’ve studied and used many different treatments. For minor spider veins, I like scleropathy, a minimally invasive treatment that involves the injection of a chemical irritant, such as a simple saline solution, into your veins causing them to die, scar over, and get flushed out of your body. The blood that once flowed through them gets redirected to healthier nearby veins.
For severe spider or varicose veins, I use Venefit™, the most advanced endovenous laser treatment (EVLT).
Veneft EVLT is a painless nonsurgical procedure I perform here in the office. The term endovenous simply means that the treatment occurs inside your vein. Unlike vein stripping, a surgical procedure that removes your problem veins, Venefit uses radiofrequency laser technology to seal off your spider and varicose veins.
We use ultrasound technology to guide a very slender catheter into your vein, which emits controlled heat generated by the RF energy. As I slowly withdraw the catheter, the heat damages the vein tissue so it shrinks and closes.
Although you may need to wear a compression stocking if the treatment was performed on your legs, you should be able to walk immediately after the EVLT procedure.
Whether you suffer from spider veins or varicose veins, they typically aren’t cause for a medical concern, but they often cause a cosmetic nightmare. Schedule an appointment today and you can have the legs and face of your dreams this summer. Book your visit online or call us at 318-383-3160.