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By October 17, 2011 - 2:43am
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Hi Cheryl,

Spider veins can be caused by the backup of blood. They can also be caused by hormone changes, exposure to the sun, and injuries.

To prevent more spider veins, you can use compression stockings.

Compression stockings put helpful pressure on your veins. There are 3 kinds of compression stockings:

Support pantyhose, which offer the least amount of pressure. These also often are not “gradient” or “graduated.” That means they provide pressure all over instead of where it is needed most.
Over-the-counter gradient compression hose, which give a little more pressure. They are sold in medical supply and drugstores.
Prescription-strength gradient compression hose, which offer the greatest amount of pressure. They are sold in medical supply and drugstores. You need to be fitted for them by someone who has been trained to do this.

To get rid of the spider veins that you currently have, you can try:
Sclerotherapy (SKLER-o-ther-a-pee) is the most common treatment for both spider veins and varicose veins. The doctor uses a needle to inject a liquid chemical into the vein. The chemical causes the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut. This stops the flow of blood, and the vein turns into scar tissue. In a few weeks, the vein should fade. This treatment does not require anesthesia and can be done in your doctor's office. You can return to normal activity right after treatment.

The same vein may need to be treated more than once. Treatments are usually done every 4 to 6 weeks. You may be asked to wear gradient compression stockings after sclerotherapy to help with healing and decrease swelling. This treatment is very effective when done correctly.

Possible side effects include:

Stinging, red and raised patches of skin, or bruises where the injection was made. These usually go away shortly after treatment.
Spots, brown lines, or groups of fine red blood vessels around the treated vein. These also usually go away shortly after treatment.
Lumps of blood that get trapped in vein and cause inflammation. This is not dangerous. You can relieve swelling by applying heat and taking aspirin. Your doctor can drain the trapped blood with a small pinprick at a follow-up visit.
There is a type of sclerotherapy called ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (or echo-sclerotherapy). This type of sclerotherapy uses ultrasound imaging to guide the needle. It can be useful in treating veins that cannot be seen on the skin’s surface. It may be used after surgery or endovenous techniques if the varicose veins return. This procedure can be done in a doctor’s office. Possible side effects include skin sores, swelling, injection into an artery by mistake, or deep vein thrombosis (a potentially dangerous blood clot).

Surface laser treatments
In some cases, laser treatments can effectively treat spider veins and smaller varicose veins. This technique sends very strong bursts of light through the skin onto the vein. This makes the vein slowly fade and disappear. Not all skin types and colors can be safely treated with lasers.

No needles or incisions are used, but the heat from the laser can be quite painful. Cooling helps reduce the pain. Laser treatments last for 15 to 20 minutes. Generally, 2 to 5 treatments are needed to remove spider veins in the legs. Laser therapy usually isn’t effective for varicose veins larger than 3 mm (about a tenth of an inch). You can return to normal activity right after treatment.

Possible side effects of lasers include:

Redness or swelling of the skin right after the treatment that disappears within a few days
Discolored skin that will disappear within 1 to 2 months
Burns and scars from poorly performed laser surgery, though this is rare

If you decide to try either of these treatments, please make sure that you do your research and find the best qualified doctor to do this.


Best of Luck,


October 17, 2011 - 7:00am
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