Warmer weather is finally upon us and with it comes the summer wardrobe. Unsightly spider veins can make us uncomfortable in summer apparel but can be easily treated. Spider veins are dilated blood vessels that form just under the skin and result in red, blue or purple clusters of veins visible on the skin’s surface. Besides the appearance of these dilated veins, other symptoms may include skin redness, and for some patients, pain and swelling.
After a lengthy winter, our tans have faded and spider veins may be more obvious. Once we begin wearing shorts, capris or swimsuits, we become more aware of them. Many women are not comfortable with the cosmetic appearance of their spider veins and will continue to wear long pants throughout the summer.
Not all the visible veins on your legs are necessarily spider veins. Some of your visible veins may be larger size reticular or even varicose veins. It is important to have a screening ultrasound before treatment to determine exactly what venous problems exist.
If they are spider veins, but they are not severe, walking, anti-inflammatory medications and cold compresses may be recommended. Most patients will benefit from wearing prescription strength compression stockings.
However, in most cases, sclerotherapy is the best treatment to eliminate the veins. Sclerotherapy is a simple treatment that involves using a tiny needle to inject medicine into the veins, which causes them to collapse and disappear.
The needed number of treatments will vary depending upon the patient and the severity of the spider veins. Most of the veins will disappear during the first treatment and will continue to improve over time, but additional treatments may be needed. Generally, patients are able to return to their normal activities immediately after treatment.
Jeffery P. Schoonover, M.D., FAAFP, RVT, RPVI
Indiana Vein Specialists
11876 Olio Road, Suite 700
Fishers, IN 46037