Varicose Veins :: Travellers Clots DVT
Spider Veins ::
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are
smaller, are often red or blue in color, and are closer to the
surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like a
tree branch or spider web with their short jagged lines.
Spider veins can be found on both the legs and the face. They
can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.
The heart pumps blood to supply oxygen and nutrients to all
parts of the body. Arteries carry blood from the heart towards
the body parts, while veins carry blood from the body parts
back to the heart. As the blood is pumped back to the heart,
veins act as one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing
backwards. If the one-way valve becomes weak, some of the
blood can leak back into the vein, collect there, and then
become congested or clogged. This congestion will cause the
vein to abnormally enlarge. These enlarged veins can be either
varicose veins or spider veins.
No one knows the exact cause of spider and varicose veins,
but there are several factors that cause a person to be more
likely to develop them.
- Heredity, or being born with weak vein valves, is the
- Hormones also play a role. The hormonal changes that
occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, as well as
taking estrogen, progesterone, and birth control pills can
cause a woman to develop varicose veins or spider veins.
During pregnancy, besides the increases in hormone levels,
there also is a great increase in the volume of blood in the
body that can cause veins to enlarge. The enlarged uterus
also puts more pressure on the veins. (Within 3 months after
delivery, varicose veins usually improve. However, more
abnormal veins are likely to develop and remain after
Other factors that weaken vein valves and that may cause
varicose or spider veins include aging, obesity, leg injury,
and prolonged standing, such as for long hours on the job.
Spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person
may occur from sun exposure.
Besides a physical examination, your doctor can take x-rays
or ultrasound pictures of the vein to assess the cause and
severity of the problem. Some available treatments or
- Sclerotherapy -
Of all available treatments, this one is most commonly used
for both spider veins and varicose veins. It involves
injecting a solution into the vein that causes the lining of
the vein walls to swell, stick together, and eventually seal
shut. The flow of blood is stopped and the vein turns into
scar tissue. In a few weeks, the vein should fade. Although
the same vein may need to be injected with the solution more
than once, sclerotherapy is very effective if done
correctly. The American Academy of Dermatology states that
most patients can expect a 50% to 90% improvement. Also, a
new and improved type of sclerotherapy called microsclerotherapy
uses improved solutions and injection techniques that
increase the success rate for removal of spider veins.
Sclerotherapy does not require anaesthesia, and can be done
in the doctor's office.
Electrodesiccation - This treatment is similar to
sclerotherapy except the veins are sealed off with an
electrical current instead of the injection of solution.
This treatment may leave scars.
- Laser surgery –
Can varicose and spider
veins return even after treatment?
Current treatments for varicose veins and spider veins have
very high success rates. Although it is uncommon, these veins
can return after treatment. One reason may be hidden areas in
the body where there is a lot of pressure on the veins. This
pressure may cause new spider veins. Doctors can diagnose this
with ultrasound. Another cause may be new re-growth of vein
branches. Doctors have found that tiny vein branches can grow
through scar tissue to connect to both deep and superficial
veins even after surgery.