Cosmetic Dermatology Conditions - Spider / Varicose Veins

Spider veins are most often seen on the legs and thighs of both men and women. Often the result of pregnancy, leg swelling, or hereditary tendency, these veins are tiny bluish-red “stringy, tree-like” groupings that are primarily unsightly rather than symptomatic.

The treatment of these areas is not difficult, but may involve repeat visits to the dermatologist as they tend to recur in different areas throughout one’s lifetime. There is no over-the-counter treatment for the prevention and treatment of spider veins. Sclerotherapy is an intra-office procedure where the dermatologist injects a compound that destroys or collapses the tiny vessels. Such FDA-approved compounds include hypertonic saline and sodium tetradecyl sulfate.

One non-FDA-approved compound recently used with great efficacy is aethoxysclerol. With a majority of these treatments, post-treatment hyperpigmentation, ulcerations, or allergic reactions may be encountered. Post-treatment use of compression stockings is strongly recommended for 7 days after therapy. Use of dedicated laser systems or intense pulsed light systems has also been used with some efficacy in treating spider veins.

Varicose veins are widely seen in many people, but are primarily noted in those persons of greater weight or after pregnancy. These are the larger compressible green-blue veins noted primarily from the knee down. The primary reason for their development is the malfunction of the venous valves that assist blood return to the heart. While sclerosants mentioned above may be used by some physicians in the treatment of these veins, there is no satisfactory treatment available asides from surgical removal.

Compression hose is a staple of varicose vein therapy as well as weight or lower extremity swelling correction. If these varicose veins are associated with pain, it would be very wise to consult a vascular surgeon regarding the best available treatment.