It started as a faint blue line, and now it’s an embarrassing network of visible veins. Are they spider veins? Varicose veins? Something worse?
If you have these concerns, we understand. At Vascular Vein Centers, our expert team deals with vein problems all the time at our multiple locations in Florida. From diagnosing to treating vein issues, we can have your legs or other areas of your body looking great in no time. In this blog, we discuss what causes vein issues and what your treatment options are.
Understanding your veins
Veins and arteries carry blood to and from your heart. Arteries carry oxygenated blood freshly pumped from your heart to all of your body parts, and veins send the oxygen-depleted blood back to your heart to get reoxygenated.
Veins have the more difficult job because they have to work against gravity to push your blood up from your feet and legs back to your heart. That’s why veins have valves to prevent backflow. In general, spider veins and varicose veins in the legs form because these valves malfunction, allowing blood to pool in the veins.
Spider veins vs. varicose veins
Spider veins are small and varicose veins are large, but that’s not their only difference. Here’s what distinguishes them.
Varicose means swollen and dilated. A varicose vein, therefore, is one that has become larger than it should be. Caused by faulty valves, varicose veins are common in legs and ankles and can appear as rope-like, bulging distensions that are blue or purple. But varicose veins can also be invisible. You may notice that your legs feel unusually heavy and tired, achy and restless. Left untreated, this can lead to painful conditions, such as venous reflux, blood clots, and ulcers.
Spider veins are thinner and tangled — like a web — and they don’t typically bulge like varicose veins. However, like varicose veins, they’re caused by malfunctioning valves. Closer to the surface of your skin and smaller than varicose veins, these can be seen but not felt, and they generally don’t pose a health risk.
Treatment options for spider veins and varicose veins
As the only vascular and vein center in Central Florida that focuses solely on vein care and leg health, we are uniquely equipped to address all of your varicose and spider vein issues. Here are a few of the ways we treat varicose and spider veins.
Whether you have varicose veins or spider veins, scleropathy is a popular and highly effective way to get rid of them. We use a very thin needle and inject a saline solution into your vein. The solution then irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to collapse and the blood to clot.
Your blood flow then redirects itself to other nearby veins. Eventually, the vein develops scar tissue and is no longer visible. Scleropathy is a quick and painless outpatient procedure.
Some varicose veins occur deeper under the skin and are invisible. You may experience heavy, achy legs, but not the visual cues. That’s where ultrasound comes in.
This technique allows us to use digital imaging to detect your damaged veins and inject a solution to close them off, thus halting the progression of your invisible varicose veins and improving your vascular health.
Endovenous laser-guided treatment
Similar to scleropathy, endovenous laser-guided therapy (EVLT) closes off the damaged vein, so scar tissue forms, pooling stops, and eventually the vein is absorbed by your body and flushed away.
The difference is in the EVLT method, which involves the insertion of a catheter into your affected vein. Instead of a saline solution, we insert a laser fiber that heats up your vein from the inside, causing it to collapse on itself.
Although EVLT is safe and effective, it does use heat to get the job done, and that means you need a tumescent anesthesia, such as lidocaine. VenaSeal™ also uses a catheter to access your vein, but there’s no laser and no heat. Instead, VenaSeal uses a medical-grade “glue,” much like the type used to close skin wounds. We drip it into the affected vein to close it off and restore your circulation.
Another effective treatment for spider and varicose veins is Varithena®, an injectable foam that pushes the pooled blood out of your affected vein and, like the other treatments, leaves the vein to close up, scar over, and absorb into your body. Varithena is quick and easy, requiring no anesthesia or downtime.
If you’re noticing symptoms of varicose or spider veins, don’t wait until they become serious health issues. Book an appointment online or over the phone with Vascular Vein Centers to find out which treatment is right for you.