Spider Veins Fort Worth, TX
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins, also called telangiectasias, are clusters of tiny hair-like visible veins within the skin which valves have stopped functioning properly. When the valves of a vein are working correctly, they keep blood flowing in one direction. When they become damaged, they allow blood to flow backwards and pool, causing the walls of the vein to distend and enlarge. This is called venous reflux. When smaller, more superficial veins are involved, a web of red or blue thin branches appear on the surface of the skin. The spider web or tree branch look of these veins give them the name "spider veins". Spider veins are often found on the legs and occasionally on the face. They sometimes can cause pain and aching. They may or may not be associated with underlying vein disease in vessels beneath the skin that are not visible. If so, they will not respond to treatment until the underlying diseased veins are addressed. For this reason when you are evaluated for spider veins we will often recommend a brief ultrasound examination to be sure there are no diseased veins beneath the skin producing the spider veins.
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What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins develop comes from a back flow of blood in the veins. This condition, which results from damaged valves in the veins, is called "venous reflux." As blood collects in these veins, their walls distend. This increases the size of the veins and makes them visible. The causes of spider veins are not completely known, but many identifiable factors put an individual at risk. Risk factors for spider veins include:
- Increasing age
- Family history of the disease
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of exercise
- Sun exposure
Since hormonal changes increase the risk of developing spider veins there is a higher risk of developing the problem during puberty, menopause, pregnancy and while taking birth control medication. Since extra weight puts stress on veins, pregnancy involves a double risk. Because women go through greater hormonal fluctuations and may go through pregnancy, more women than men develop spider veins.
Spider Veins Treatment
As with so many other medical conditions, weight loss and regular exercise are helpful in treating spider veins and particularly in keeping them from developing into varicose veins. Wearing compression stockings, avoiding leg crossing and sitting or standing for prolonged periods may also be useful.
For patients who want spider veins removed for cosmetic reasons, the two most frequently employed methods are sclerotherapy and laser ablation. Both are minimally invasive, outpatient procedures, providing excellent results. As one of the leading spider vein treatment centers in Texas, at the Reeder Vein Institute we perform sclerotherapy with the gentle care our patients appreciate. The treatment involves the injection of a foamed sclerosing solution that inflames the lining layer of the vein, causing it to close and disappear. With the newer treatment agents and tiny needles, it is minimally painful and safely done in the office. An optimal result may require more than one and sometimes multiple treatments, depending on the number and extent of the spider veins. You should also expect six to eight weeks for healing following each session. Our physicians can give you a realistic timeline for treatment.
Once spider veins are treated, can I expect others to occur over time?
Usually other spider veins do develop slowly over time. Many patients who desire treatment for spider veins will return yearly or every two years for a “touch up” once they have completed their initial treatment.
How Much does spider vein treatment cost?
Spider veins are treated with microinjections of a sclerosing solution, commonly referred to as sclerotherapy. This treatment is not covered by health insurance plans and is considered cosmetic treatment.
However, spider veins can be associated with more severe vein problems that may need to be addressed before the spider veins are treated, and these problems may be covered by your insurance plan. For this reason, the initial evaluation for spider veins should prudently include a search for more serious vein problems. If only the spider veins require treatment, the initial consultation and treatment on the same day for spider veins is $350, thereafter, additional treatment sessions range from $350 or less depending upon the time and number of areas treated. The total cost for treatment (multiple sessions if necessary) can be estimated by a staff member of Reeder Vein at the time of your initial evaluation.
Spider Veins Vs. Varicose Veins
Spider veins, although they result from the same type of vascular malfunction as varicose veins, are much less serious. Spider veins are a superficial manifestation of the problem. When veins become varicose, their walls have thinned considerably and blood has pooled in them so that they appear as palpable dark cords on the surface of the skin.
Can Spider Veins be dangerous?
Not usually. In and of themselves, varicose veins are not usually dangerous, but left untreated they may develop into varicose veins which are a more serious medical condition. Varicose veins may result in pain, fatigue, or inflammation of the skin and may be evidence of an underlying vascular problem.
Can Spider Veins be prevented?
Possibly. Since there is a hereditary component to the development of spider veins, they cannot be prevented in all cases. Keeping to a healthy diet and normal weight, applying sunscreen, exercising regularly, and avoiding long periods of sitting or standing may prevent the development of spider veins and will certainly contribute to good vascular health.
*The information about Spider Veins was reviewed by Board Certified Surgeon Dr. Michael Darnell. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us using our contact form.