If you look down at your legs, do you notice dark veins that are visible through your skin? Or do you see lumps and bumps that appear to be bulging or twisted veins? You may be dealing with spider veins or varicose veins. And, chances are, you’ll want to seek treatment. But first, you need to understand the difference between these conditions. That way, you can choose the best course of treatment.
Spider Veins vs. Varicose Veins
Whether you have darker, superficial veins or larger, swollen veins, the cause is the same: blood that’s not flowing properly. They are different degrees of the same problem. So, what’s the difference between spider and varicose veins? First, it’s the cause of the backed-up blood. Second, it’s the location of the affected veins. And, finally, it’s the degree to which your veins are impacted by this built-up blood. Now, we’ll look at each condition separately so you can understand which vein treatments are right for your situation.
Why Do You Get Spider Veins?
Spider veins are tiny, dilated blood vessels near the surface of your skin. They are usually red or blue, and they earned their name because they may look like a spider web forming on your skin.
What changes healthy veins into spider veins? When your veins have trouble getting blood out of your legs and to your heart, that blood starts to collect. This pooling could be the result of your age or your family history. Pregnancy and sun exposure can also put extra pressure on your veins.
Spider veins most often develop on your legs, but they may also show up on your face. If you have spider veins, it’s very important to seek vascular care treatments. They are not just a cosmetic concern. In fact, if they are left alone, spider veins will get worse.
Treating Spider Veins
In our Peoria vein care center, we offer two non-surgical procedures to treat your spider veins. First, we provide Sclerotherapy, a great choice for treating troubled surface veins. With this procedure, we perform a series of injections into the affected spider veins. During this 30- to 45-minute vein care therapy session, the injections will close up your damaged veins. Afterward, your blood will change course and flow through healthy veins. And, without blood flow, the damaged vessels won’t be visible anymore.
We also offer VeinGogh Treatment for spider veins. Using microburst technology, this procedure only takes a few minutes. Using a small pen-like stylus, we insert a small fiber into your affected vein. Once inside, that fiber releases microbursts of heat, carefully controlled to collapse your damaged vein walls without affecting neighboring structures. Once the procedure is complete, your body will reabsorb the collapsed vein. Blood will flow through healthy veins and, again, the spider veins will disappear from the surface of your skin.
Both these treatments are great options for spider veins. But if you have varicose veins, you will likely need a more dramatic intervention.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Untreated spider veins will get worse. If blood pools in your veins for extended periods of time, the veins get stretched out and start to bulge. This takes a toll on the valves in your vessels, causing them to malfunction. And that malfunction contributes to further problems, since functioning valves are supposed to open and close in ways that push blood out of your legs and up to your heart. When they stop working, more blood collects in your legs, and the cycle continues.
Varicose veins are unsightly, but they are also a serious medical concern. They can cause painful symptoms such as heaviness in your legs, itchy skin around the veins, and cramping or throbbing and swelling in your legs. You will need to seek treatment to resolve your symptoms and restore the appearance of your skin.
Treating Varicose Veins
In our Peoria vein care therapy center, we offer several varicose vein treatments: Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT), Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy (UGFS) and Ambulatory Stab Phlebectomy (ASP).
With EVLT, we use laser energy to close up your affected veins so that your blood can flow through healthy veins instead. These highly effective laser treatments last between 45 and 60 minutes. Following your procedure, you’re left with no scarring, and the varicose veins rarely return. Recovery time is fairly fast: following EVLT, you’ll spend about a week in compression stockings, and then you should be able to return to normal activities. EVLT is a great choice for deeper varicose veins.
For UGSF, it involves using an ultrasound machine to guide a thin needle to a vein. A medicine called polidocanol is then injected into the vein, causing the vein to close down. Usually, the polidocanol is injected as foam. It is very effective in eliminating the physical symptoms of vein disease, such as aches, pains and fatigue.
For superficial varicose veins that bulge, you may choose ASP. With this procedure, we gently numb your skin with an injected anesthetic. Next, we make a series of tiny incisions, through which we can quickly remove the affected, bulging vein. You’re allowed to walk right after this in-office procedure. And after about a week in compressions stockings, you can resume normal activities.
Not sure which vein treatment is right for you? We’re here to help! Come in for a free consultation: we’ll evaluate your spider veins or varicose veins, and help you decide on your best treatment option!