Spider Veins & Varicose Veins
There are two types of blood vessels: arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and veins carry blood from the body back to the heart. Veins must work against gravity in order to return blood to the heart. Muscle contractions help push the blood upwards and valves inside the veins prevent blood from pooling or flowing backwards. Veins can lose their elasticity or become enlarged, and valves can become weak. This occurs most often in the legs because gravity’s effects put increased pressure on leg veins, especially during standing and walking. Additionally, people who are overweight and people who sit or stand for long periods of time are at an increased risk of developing abnormal veins.
Varicose veins occur more often in women than in men. This is due to hormones associated with puberty, menopause, and pregnancy. Women tend to develop varicose veins more often during pregnancy because of increased blood volume and hormones. Age and genetics also play a large role in whether a person will develop varicose and spider veins.
Varicose veins are large swollen veins that are usually raised above the skin. They are typically found anywhere from groin to ankle, typically on the backs of calves and the inner leg.
Spider veins are smaller, closer to the surface of the skin and typically resemble a spider web. They can cover a small or larger area.
There are many treatment options available for varicose and spider veins. Dr. Rokhsar offers several non-surgical solutions in his office:
Sclerotherapy is a very effective treatment wherein a chemical detergent is injected into the veins, causing them to collapse. Scar tissue forms and veins stay permanently closed.
For larger varicose veins, patients may want to consider surgical options such as vein stripping, catheter-assisted laser surgery, ambulatory phlebectomy, and endoscopic vein surgery.