Patients stricken with varicose veins, a disorder of the blood vessels in the lower extremities, have a number of treatment options at their disposal. Spider veins, the less severe variant of varicose veins, generally require a much less invasive intervention than a full-blown case of varicose veins. Rarely, varicose veins can progress to the point where painful swelling develops, requiring minor or major surgical interventions in order to combat the condition and relieve pain.
Spider vein and varicose vein treatments are mostly identical. The difference between the two treatments lies in the fact that many cases of deep, very inflamed varicose veins require minor surgery. Spider veins occur closer to the surface of the skin, which means that much less invasive procedures suffice. Essentially, patients who are searching for treatment options for spider veins can either make simple lifestyle changes or undergo treatment with sclerotherapy.
Treating Spider Veins with Lifestyle Changes
Spider veins resemble a blue or red spider’s web pattern that is visible beneath the surface of the skin. Spider veins could signal a larger blood flow problem in the lower extremities, so patients who begin to develop spider veins should consult with a physician first. This visit eliminates the possibility of a greater blood flow problem. Spider veins are rather unsightly, but in reality, spider veins are a cosmetic issue rather than a serious medical problem.
Lifestyle changes can help patients manage mild cases of spider veins. Spider veins occur when blood begins to pool within the blood vessels of the lower extremities. Old age and pregnancy are two of the primary indicators of spider veins, so increasing exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are the most conservative courses of treatment. Exercise helps improve blood flow in the lower extremities as well as providing a boost to a patient’s self-esteem. Nutrient-rich foods can also help the affected vessels improve blood flow.
Along with lifestyle changes, doctors who specialize in disorders of the blood vessels, also known as phlebologists, may recommend that patients stricken with spider veins wear a compression stocking. This garment increases the amount of pressure placed around the leg in order to assist the body’s natural healing process.
Compression stockings can vary from simple, tight pantyhose to over-the-counter or prescription strength garments. Over-the-counter compression stockings are available in many different retail stores around the country. Prescription compression stockings, on the other hand, are only available through a medical clinic because the garments are custom-fitted to a patient’s body.
Treating Spider Veins with Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy involves the use of a medical procedure known as a chemical ablation. In layman’s terms, sclerotherapy occurs when a doctor injects spider veins with a chemical that causes the affected veins to swell before sealing shut. Patients who choose sclerotherapy require no surgery in order to remove spider veins, which is why this method is so popular.
Sclerotherapy takes only minutes and the vast majority of patients who undergo the procedure experience very few side effects. Also, most patients are able to return to their daily lives within a matter of hours after receiving sclerotherapy. The primary side effects of sclerotherapy include contusions around the injection site, but these red patches of skin subside after a short period of time.
One of the most preeminent sclerotherapists, Dr. John Chuback of Chuback Medical Group in Paramus, NJ, advises patients that more than one chemical ablation may be necessary to treat spider veins.
In addition to sclerotherapy, Dr. Chuback also uses his expertise in vein disorders to advise patients on the best treatment option for their condition. This way, whether sclerotherapy or another treatment is prescribed, patients can achieve the best possible outcomes.