At least 20 million Americans suffer from varicose veins, according to the American Society for Vascular Surgery. And in other industrialized countries, at least 30% of women and 10% of men seek treatment for spider veins or consultation for signs of varicose veins.
One of the most common types of varicose veins is superficial leg veins or more popularly known as spider veins. This is why spider vein removal is also one of the most in-demand vascular treatments today. But what exactly are spider veins and will they go away on their own?
Spider Veins and its Causes
Superficial leg veins are tiny veins congregating below the skin’s surface causing blue, red or purple discolorations. The condition got its name from its appearance that resembles spiders just under the skin’s surface. While most spider veins are not easily noticeable, some become more visible as time goes by, which prompts patients to seek treatment for spider veins, one of which is through spider vein removal.
Spider veins can be caused by several factors. Heredity and obesity are some of the most common causes for the condition along with a history of blood clots, hormonal changes, and occupations that require standing for long hours like teachers, nurses and factory workers. Studies also suggest that the risk for developing spider veins increases with age and medical conditions that increase pressure in the abdomen also predispose patients to it.
The Signs and Symptoms
Except for a slight burning, spider veins are not usually painful, the first thing that patients notice is the red or bluish blood vessels appearing on the lower extremities specifically the thighs and legs. Other patients also notice these visible veins on their hands, forearms or even the face, which prompts them to seek treatment right away.
Spider veins may be temporary or permanent depending on what caused them in the first place. For instance, if the condition was caused by temporary risk factors such as pregnancy or obesity, spider veins may go away on its own after giving birth or if one loses weight. It may be permanent, however, if it’s caused by heredity or any other risk factor that’s not addressed properly.
Treatment for Spider Veins
The right treatment for spider veins depends heavily on its causes. If it is caused by obesity, lifestyle change is the right first step to take. Support stockings may also be recommended to help aid circulation in the affected area. But if the condition has already worsened and the patient is uncomfortable with how the affected area looks, spider vein removal will most likely be done to get rid of the visible veins altogether.
With the right treatment, spider veins actually have a good prognosis. Addressing the factors that are causing it in the first place will not only help improve the condition but also prevent it from coming back in the future. Meanwhile, undergoing surgery to remove spider veins promises at least 50% to 90% improvement on how the affected area looks. You can expect the discoloration to stay for a few months or even a year after treatment, but it will slowly fade in time.
We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County, and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.