Unsightly Leg Veins, By Dr. Jodi Schoenhaus – February 2006
It is estimated that more than 80 million Americans suffer from painful, bulging varicose veins or unsightly spider veins. Until recently, many people did not seek treatment because they were unaware of their choices and treatment options.
Heredity, smoking, weight loss, direct trauma, excess physical activity, and weight lifting may also cause venous disorders to develope. Varicose and spider veins can be physically and emotionally painful, and sufferers often feel embarrassed, frustrated and, in some cases, depressed. A Physical exam and ultrasound study by a licensed physician will determine if the condition is medical or cosmetic, and also will illuminate options for treatment.
Prior to performing any cosmetic procedure, any underlying vein disorder must be medically controlled. Vericose veins are bulging blue veins on a leg that appear large, twisted and ropelike, and can cause pain and swelling. They are formed when a backward flow of blood occurs due to improperly functioning vein valves that normally prevent blood from flowing in reverse direction. Gravity will then cause the blood to pool in the legs, and over time, the veins lose their elasticity and begin to bulge. The result is a ropelike skin mass of blue veins under the surface of the skin.
Treatment modalities for varicose veins include ultrasound guided injections and endovenous laser treatment (EVLT). These procedures are performe in an office setting without the need for anesthesia and have made vein stripping obsolete. Normal activity is resumed in the same day.
spider veins are the tiny veins that appear right under the outer layer of skin. Spider veins are seen as small red or purple vessels usually in a cluster pattern. Most women begin to notice the appearance of spider veins after childbirth, as a result of direct pressure on the veins in the pelvic region and the lower extremities.
Furthermore, progesterone relaxes the muscle found in the wall of the vein.
Spider veins are not considered medical and the treatment of spider veins is a cosmetic treatment/procedure.
If the unsightly veins are solely a cosmetic problem, they can be treated with sclerotherapy or by laser ablation. Sclerotherapy utlizes a tiny, painless needle to administer a medication to the vein.
This safe procedure is performed in the doctors office and can be done on your lunch break. You’ll need three to five sessions in order to reach 85 to 90 percent clearing. Patients are required to wear medical stockings and sun block for a few days after treatment.
With proper medical evaluation, vericose and spider veins can be treated safely and effectively, resulting in beautiful legs that appear rejuvinated.
QUICK TIPS ABOUT SPIDER VEIN TREATMENTS
- Peak results are seen one to two months post-treatment
- Most people require between 3-5 treatments
- Side effects include mild bruising that clears in 2 weeks
- Post treatment instructions include the use of elastic dressings for two days, avoiding strenuous activity for two days, and using sun block on your legs during the course of treatment
- Cost usually depends on the amount of solution injected or the amount of time spent on each session
Dr. Jodi Schoenhaus, DPM, practices lower extremity cosmetics in her Boca Raton, FL office.