Veins, Varicose Veins, Spider Veins, Vein Treatments

Veins are the component of the circulatory system responsible for carrying blood to the heart. Varicose veins and spider veins are common vein problems, usually stemming from an underlying medical condition known as venous insufficiency. Spider vein and varicose vein problems vary depending on the location, type, and severity. There are a number of vein treatments for individuals with varicose vein and spider vein symptoms; consulting a vein care professional is the best way to learn about the options available for your vein problems.

Vein Problems, What are Varicose Veins, Causes of Varicose Veins, What are Spider Veins, Causes of Spider Veins, Risk Factors of Varicose VeinsSymptoms of Varicose Veins, Preventing Vein Problems, Varicose Veins & Pregnancy, Treating Vein Problems, Compression Stockings, SclerotherapyMicro Sclerotherapy, Ultrasound Sclerotherapy, Foam Sclerotherapy, Endovenous Ablation, Laser Endovenous Ablation, Radiofrequency Endovenous Ablation, Laser Therapy, Intense Pulsed Light, Phlebectomy, Microphlebectomy, Ambulatory Phlebectomy, Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy, Surgical Vein Treatments, Vein Stripping and Ligation, Deep Venous Pharmacomechanical Thrombosis

Vein Problems

The two most common types of vein problems are varicose veins and spider veins. Both types of vein problems usually result from an underlying medical problem called venous insufficiency. Gender, age, heredity, and lifestyle factors can also contribute the development and prevalence of both varicose veins and spider veins. Information about the various causes, signs, symptoms and complications of varicose veins and spider veins, as well as a description of other less common vein problems can be found here.

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What Are Varicose Veins

varicoseVaricose veins are veins that have become engorged and swollen. They are one of the most common health problems, especially for women and for people over fifty years old.

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Causes of Varicose Veins

varicose_causesVaricose veins are caused by the failure of the internal valves to prevent reverse blood flow back into the vein. The return of blood into the vein causes an imbalance to develop in the pressure between veins and arteries. The veins become enlarged and engorged with blood and they protrude from the skin with a bulgy appearance.

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What Are Spider Veins?

spider_veinsSpider veins, which are also called telangiectasias, are tiny visible blood vessels or broken capillaries just under the skin.

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Causes of Spider Veins

Spider veins are caused when small blood vessels located near the skin's surface become dilated. The veins take on a red or purple hue and look like spider webs or tree branches.

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Risk Factors of Varicose Veins

The primary risk factor for developing varicose veins is genetics, however other lifestyle factors can influence the formation of varicose veins as well.

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Symptoms of Varicose Veins

For the majority of sufferers, varicose veins are an unsightly and unpleasant, but relatively benign part of life. They are most identifiable by their appearance.

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Preventing Vein Problems

There are many simple steps to take towards minimizing the risk of developing spider veins and varicose veins. Although there is a big genetic component, the risk factors for these vein problems are lifestyle factors which can be altered to decrease risks. Here are some simple ideas for reducing your risk of varicose veins and spider veins.

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Varicose Veins & Pregnancy

The added weight and strain of pregnancy on the circulatory system raises the chance of veins becoming varicose. Pregnancy is often the first time that women begin to experience varicose veins.

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Treating Vein Problems

Treatment of varicose veins and spider veins varies greatly depending on the severity and location of the problem veins. There are a variety of non-invasive, non-surgical, and surgical methods for treating varicose veins and spider veins.

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Compression Stockings

compression_stockingCompression stockings are a commonly used non-invasive treatment for the symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins. They provide relief from the pain and help support the affected veins. They are also used in conjunction with, and while recovering from, other treatments of varicose veins and spider veins.

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sclerotherapySclerotherapy is considered the “gold standard” in treating spider veins and small to medium sized varicose veins. The procedure involves the injection of a sclerosing solution into the targeted veins, which eventually swell shut and heal into scar tissue.

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Micro Sclerotherapy

Micro Sclerotherapy is used to treat spider veins. The procedure involves the injection of a sclerosing solution into the targeted veins, which eventually swell shut and heal into scar tissue.

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Ultrasound Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is a newer sclerotherapy technique that is useful in treating varicose veins that are not able to be addressed with tradition sclerotherapy procedures.

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Foam Sclerotherapy

 Foam Sclerotherapy treats spider veins and varicose veins by injecting a sclerosing foam agent  into the targeted veins, which eventually swell shut and heal into scar tissue.

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Endovenous Ablation

Endovenous_Laser_AblationEndovenous ablation treats varicose veins by using heat to ablate, meaning remove, the troublesome veins. In this minimally invasive procedure the problem varicose veins are exposed to heat which causes them to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue.

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Laser Endovenous Ablation

 Laser endovenous ablation treats varicose veins by using heat from a laser beam to ablate, meaning remove, the troublesome veins.

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Radiofrequency Endovenous Ablation

radiofrequency_ablationRadiofrequency endovenous ablation treats varicose veins by using heat from sound waves to ablate, meaning remove, the troublesome veins.

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Laser Therapy

Laser therapy treats spider veins and small surface varicose veins by exposing them to heat through the skin's surface. The heat does not damage the skin but causes the walls of the vein to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue

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Intense Pulsed Light

intense_pulse_lightIntense pulsed light treats spider veins and small surface varicose veins by exposing them to heat through the skin's surface. The heat does not damage the skin but causes the walls of the vein to shrink, collapse, and eventually heal into scar tissue.

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PhlebectomyPhlebectomy is a surgical procedure performed under local anesthetic that treats superficial varicose veins by removing them from the body with a special tool.

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Microphlebectomy is a surgical procedure in which a special hook is used to remove select portions of surface varicose veins.

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Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical procedure in which a special hook is used to remove surface varicose veins.

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Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy

Transilluminated powered phlebectomy is a surgical procedure in which a special phlebectomy device is used to remove surface varicose veins. The procedure was developed as an alternative to using a phlebectomy hook.

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Surgical Vein Treatments

Surgical treatments are sometimes required to effectively remove serious varicose veins as well as to reduce the risk of serious side effects resulting from chronic vein disease.

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Vein Stripping and Ligation

p_strippingandligation_lrgVein Stripping and vein ligation involve the surgical excision of large varicose veins. The procedures are performed under general anesthesia.

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Deep Venous Pharmacomechanical Thrombosis

Deep venous pharmacomechanical thrombosis is used to treat and remove clots that have formed in deep varicose veins. The procedure is used to address concerns about blood clots breaking away and moving to the lungs, heart, or brain.

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Veins - Varicose Veins - Frequently Asked Questions PDF Print E-mail

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about Veins

Q: What are varicose veins?

The term varicose veins is used to describe everything from smaller, spider veins (red or blue veins on the surface of the skin) up to true varicose veins that are swollen, bulging veins with a rope like appearance. Varicose veins commonly affect almost 25% of women and 15% of men.

Q: What are the signs of varicose veins?

Common symptoms are swelling in the legs, numbness in the legs, and aching pain, tired and heavy leg feeling, persistent itching or irritated rash on the legs, legs ulcers or open wounds that won't heal, bulging veins, or small, spider looking veins. You should always seek the advice of a doctor if any of these symptoms are present.

Q: What causes varicose veins?

The exact cause of varicose veins is unknown but certain factors are known to increase your probability of having varicose veins. These include:

  • Heredity
  • Obesity
  • Standing and sitting too long
  • Leg Injury
- Crossing your legs
  • Age 

Q: Can I prevent varicose veins from occurring?

It is doubtful that varicose veins can be prevented but certain actions may limit the progress and symptoms. Routine exercise like maintaining a normal weight, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing, and using compression stockings may all help alleviate symptoms.

Q: What are the treatment options for varicose and spider veins?

A variety of treatments are available to manage each vein condition. Determination of the appropriate treatment is best achieved by a trained vein specialist. Current treatments available are:

Compression Stockings:  
Helps to reduce the swelling and increases circulation.

Sclerotherapy – A chemical solution is injected directly into the vein to close it down.

Ablation Treatments:  Laser or radio waves are used to close off the vein so the body can clear it away like a scab or a bruise.

Laser or Light Treatments:  
Light is used as a heat source to stimulate the closure of the problem veins.

 A minimally invasive surgical procedure to remove part of the vein.

Vein Surgery:  
Rarely used except in certain cases where removal of the vein is the best solution.

Q: How does the new, non-surgical technology vary from traditional treatment?

Traditional treatment of varicose veins consisted of physically cutting the veins out. New technology treatments are about 95% successful and have a low recurrence rate because you can treat all of the veins, not just the ones you can see.

Q: How long does this treatment take?

Most procedures can be done in less than an hour and require 3-5 visits over a period of a few weeks to ensure successful treatment.

Q: Will non-surgical treatment affect my everyday life?

There is virtually no downtime with these new procedures and you can go about your normal daily activities. You will probably experience less soreness after your procedure.

Q: What happens if I don't have my varicose veins treated?

The pressure in the back flow of the blood in your legs will probably only get worse over time and it may result in the formation of new varicose or spider veins.

Q: What is the cost of these treatments?

The cost of the treatments varies with the size of the job and the method of treatment prescribed.

Q: Will my insurance pay for the treatments?

Insurance usually participates when the treatments are shown to be a medical necessity. However, sometimes the procedures are deemed only cosmetic and are not covered by Medicare or insurance providers. Consult your insurance carrier for more information.
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