Do You Have Varicose Veins?

The cause of varicose veins is usually multi-factorial, and those that suffer from them want nothing more than to have them disappear. Varicose veins are not only visible and displeasing to the eye, but they are also uncomfortable. They can cause pain, itching, heaviness, bleeding and ulceration to name a few symptoms. Varicose veins are a common physical sign of underlying venous disease. Their presence suggests more than cosmetic treatments may be necessary.

Many confuse varicose veins and spider veins, but they are not the same. It is important to know the difference between spider veins and varicose veins in order to choose the best treatment option. Below we will explain the difference for you as well as their individual treatment options.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are blood vessels that are swollen and raised and usually located in the legs. Varicose veins effect more than 30% of the population. Varicose veins are not only visible through the skin, they are also painful for those that suffer from them.

Varicose Vein Treatment

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins can be caused by a variety of factors:

  • Hormones (menopause, pregnancy, puberty, birth control pills)
  • Having an occupation that involves standing more than 80% of the time
  • A history of blood clots
  • Heredity
  • Obesity

How can varicose veins be treated?

It was once thought that varicose veins could only be treated with extensive surgery. This is no longer the case. Varicose veins are treated by our sister company, Vein Institute of Pittsburgh with convenient outpatient and minimally invasive surgical procedures. Procedures most commonly used for varicose veins include endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and microphlebectomy. Generally, sclerotherapy (see below) is used for smaller veins and is limited in its use for larger varicose veins.

Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, compression hosiery and walking may reduce the visibility of varicose veins slightly, but will not resolve varicose veins completely. If you have tried these options and are still suffering from painful, unsightly varicose veins then you may want to look into other treatment options at Vein Institute of Pittsburgh. Call 724-934-8346 to schedule your lower extremity vein evaluation and ultrasound.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are smaller, reddish-purple blood vessels that are not raised and palpable. Like varicose veins, spider veins can be seen through the skin and are quite common on the thighs and legs. Spider veins are typically less than 1 mm in diameter. Spider veins are common on the face as well.

Spider veins are cosmetic in nature, and are therefore not typically covered by insurance. Some patients with spider veins have underlying venous disease, however many do not. If symptoms accompany your spider veins then treatment will include more than cosmetic treatment alone. Any underlying venous disease should be addressed first.

What causes spider veins?

Spider veins and varicose veins are caused by the similar factors: heredity, history of multiple pregnancies, and hormones. Occupations requiring prolonged sitting or standing, being overweight or obese, and other lifestyle factors can contribute also.

How can spider veins be treated?

Sclerotherapy is most commonly used to treat spider veins on the lower extremities (thighs and legs). During sclerotherapy, a solution is injected into the spider veins triggering a reaction that ultimately results in the spider veins scarring over and closing. Once the treated veins close, the body reabsorbs them.

Sclerotherapy is not typically used on the face. An option to treat facial spider veins and broken capillaries is intense pulse light (IPL® photofacial). IPL® emits broad-spectrum visible light waves through the skin. This light is absorbed by specific target cells in the skin, most commonly skin pigment (melanin) and blood vessels (hemogoblin). Intense pulsed light helps reduce the unwanted brown spots and redness.

Cosmetic Laser Centers offer treatment options for both unwanted lower extremity and facial veins. Contact us today at 724-935-4200 and say goodbye to those unsightly veins.