The term ‘varicose veins‘ is often used to describe anything from a small spider vein on the surface of the skin to swollen, bulging veins with a rope-like appearance. Varicose veins are very common. One in three women and one in five men experience problems at some point in their life. Symptoms of varicose veins can include swelling, tiredness, heavy feeling, leg fatigue, leg pain, as well as burning and itching sensations.
Varicose veins are almost always associated with venous reflux. Venous reflux is when the valves in the leg veins malfunction and allow blood to pool in the lower leg. Without treatment, the pressure this creates may increase over time and cause additional varicose veins and symptoms. People may be at increased risk for varicose veins if they have a family history and are older, obese or are pregnant.
It is not clear whether or not varicose veins can be prevented, however certain actions may help limit the progression and symptoms of varicose veins. Routine exercise, maintaining a normal weight, avoiding excessively long periods of standing or sitting, and the use of compression stockings may all help alleviate symptoms.
If venous disease (e.g., venous reflux) is the underlying problem, the pressure created by backflow of blood and pooling in the lower legs can create a progressive condition that only gets worse with time. In some cases, this may lead to additional spider veins and varicose veins. This may also lead to swelling and venous ulcers at the lower calf and ankle. Only a trained vein specialist, like Dr. Di Iorio, can effectively evaluate your spider veins or varicose veins.
The same factors that helped to cause your first spider veins or varicose veins (e.g., family history, age, obesity, female hormones, etc.) may predispose you to develop additional vein problems. If a specific vein is properly treated, it usually will not recur, but it is possible that other veins may become diseased. It is important that even if you have what appear to be simple, cosmetic spider veins, that you consult a vein specialist who can determine if you have an underlying condition (venous reflux). If you have underlying venous reflux, additional spider veins or varicose veins are likely to develop if you don’t treat the cause of the problem.
Many of the procedures we specialize in act to close down a faulty vein. The vein being closed is malfunctioning and is allowing blood to flow backwards and pool, so leaving it open only makes things worse. The body contains many other healthy veins that are still functional and can easily take up the additional blood flow. Closing or removing faulty veins almost always results in improved blood flow in the overall vein system.
When shown to be medically necessary, many varicose vein treatments are covered by Medicare and other insurance providers. Sclerotherapy for spider veins is generally considered a cosmetic procedure and is usually not covered by insurance. Consult your local insurance provider to determine your eligibility and coverage. We are also available to help with insurance questions.
Spider veins are small varicose veins that occur near the surface of the skin. Spider veins are commonly found on the legs or face. They can appear as red, purplish, or blue veins and often look like tiny tree branches or spider webs (hence the name). It is also possible that spider veins may grow over time. Spider Veins are very common. In fact, some estimate that over half of all adult females will develop spider veins.