One of the more unfortunate milestones that come with the advancing years is the appearance of clusters of purple, blue, and red squiggly lines on our calves, ankles, and even our face. Spider veins. Their weblike appearance gives them their name, and they are a common result of aging. Although not painful, spider veins are unsightly and can make a woman avoid wearing shorts, skirts, or a swimsuit.
At Bella Cosmetic Surgery, we have two treatments that can get rid of those spider veins — sclerotherapy and laser therapy.
Why do I have spider veins?
Even though they form beneath the skin, the dark color of spider veins makes them visible on the skin surface. Their formation is in most cases a result of aging. Veins return de-oxygenated blood to the heart, and in the legs they are pushing blood against gravity the entire way. When we’re young, our muscles and other tissues surrounding the veins help push the blood upward. But as we age, these tissues weaken, as do the vein walls. This allows the blood to sometimes pool in the vein, rather than running cleanly through. This makes the vein larger, and it can be seen through the surface of the skin.
Beyond age, there are other factors that can make a person more likely to develop spider veins: jobs that require prolonged standing or sitting, hormonal changes, pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and heredity.
Are spider veins and varicose veins the same thing?
The cause of both of these vascular issues is the same — weakening vein walls and the pooling of blood in the veins — but the degree this is happening separates the two conditions. Spider veins are small clusters of purple and blue veins. They are usually painless, and they can be seen only because they are close to the surface skin.
Varicose veins are also signs of pooling blood, but they are larger and more serious. Varicose veins are large enough they can push up the surface skin, making an appearance of a raised curly line on your legs. Varicose veins are often painful, and they can be a sign of more serious issues with the circulation in your legs.
What are the treatment options for spider veins at Bella Cosmetic Surgery?
In our Medical Spa at Bella, we offer sclerotherapy and laser treatment for spider veins. Sclerotherapy is the preferred treatment on the legs, while laser treatment is best on the facial skin.
What is sclerotherapy?
It’s interesting in this technologically advanced age that sclerotherapy remains the most effective treatment to remove spider veins. After all, it was first developed way back in the 1930s! Much of its effectiveness comes from its simplicity. A sclerosant solution, either hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulphate, is injected in very small amounts directly into and around the spider vein. This solution irritates the vein walls, causing them to close off. That instantly decreases the vein’s appearance, and the body then scavenges the unused vein over the next few weeks, eventually completely removing it.
Who is a candidate for sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a simple procedure. It takes just a few minutes for Dr. Chiaramonte to treat a series of veins. If you have unsightly spider veins, there aren’t really any restrictions on these procedures. Reactions to the sclerosant are virtually nonexistent.
Sclerotherapy does not work on larger varicose veins, the veins that push the skin upward. Too much sclerosant would be required. These veins must be treated with laser or radiofrequency ablation or with manual vein stripping, and Dr. Chiaramonte can recommend a vein specialist to help you with those.
Is sclerotherapy painful?
Some of our patients from National Harbor and the DC area assume these injections must be painful. Not so. We deliver these injections with very tiny needles, and the injections only need to be made to a very shallow depth. Our patients equate the feeling of each injection to that of a pinprick.
What is laser therapy for spider veins?
On the face, we prefer to use laser energy to get rid of your spider veins. On the face, these are often referred to as broken capillaries. The two issues are similar, but broken capillaries are usually red, whereas spider veins on the legs are purple and blue in most cases.
Like spider veins, they don’t pose any health risk, but are cosmetically unappealing. Broken capillaries usually occur on the cheeks and nose. They are the tiny veins that show through the skin surface, as spider veins do. Although broken capillaries can result from a number of factors such as hormonal changes, on the nose and cheeks they are primarily the result of sun damage.
How does laser energy remove spider veins and broken capillaries?
In a laser vein treatment, we start by applying topical anesthetic to the area to be treated. Next, the laser wavelength is set to match the color of the vein or capillary, be it purple, red, or blue. The laser energy is delivered in short bursts. The light energy penetrates the skin surface and is absorbed by the blood in the targeted vein. The energy converts to heat and coagulates the blood inside the vein, causing it to collapse and seal. Over the next few weeks, the vessel will disappear and will be removed by the body’s lymphatic system. Thanks to the precision of the Nd:YAG laser, we are able to precisely target the vein without harming nearby tissue.
This precision allows use of the laser on broken capillaries on the nose and cheeks. Sclerotherapy, our other method for removing spider veins, is not used on the face; lasers allow treatment of these more sensitive areas with great results.
Is laser spider vein treatment painful?
When the laser pulses are delivered onto your facial skin, the pulse is quite short. It’s just enough time for the vein to absorb the energy to collapse the vein walls. These are not painful treatments. Patients equate each pulse of the laser to the feeling of a small rubber band being snapped lightly onto the skin. We apply topical numbing prior to your session to mitigate any discomfort.
Are your spider vein treatments permanent?
Once we use sclerotherapy or laser energy to remove your spider veins, the treated veins instantly diminish in appearance, and they fully disappear in the weeks that follow. These are gone for good, as they are closed off and the body disposes of the unused veins.
However, the conditions that allowed the formation of spider veins and broken capillaries could allow more to form in the future.
Contact us Today!
To find out how our spider vein treatments can provide a solution to those stubborn spider veins, contact Bella Cosmetic Surgery today by completing the form on this page or by calling 301-567-6767 to schedule an appointment. We serve patients in Maryland as well as in the Alexandria, Virginia and Washington D.C. areas.