Colorado Veins

Updated on: August 18, 2014

Problems with the veins are now being increasingly recognized and a number of physicians in Colorado are offering the latest in vein treatments. There are two basic types of veins disorders which are quite prevalent in the American population.

Spider veins are bluish or reddish networks of small veins that often resemble a "Spider's Legs" radiating from a central darkened area. They are less than 1-2 mm and may be multiple. They are most commonly found in the thigh and ankle area. They are frequently caused by excessive pressure in the small branches of the major superficial vein.

Varicose veins are enlarged, tortuous, superficial, often painful leg veins that may occur as a result of increased pressure in the veins. The most common conditions associated with varicose veins include:

- Prolonged standing

- Pregnancy

- Being over weight

- Injury to the leg

- Genetics- varicose veins do tend to run in families

In both cases, the basic cause is increased venous pressure in the legs. The veins have thin walls and very little muscular support. Any condition that increases pressure within the veins will destroy the elasticity/valves of the veins and lead to enlargement of the veins. The end result is pooling of the blood in the legs.

Both spider and varicose veins are chronic and progressive. They do not disappear on their own. When not treated, varicose veins can lead to a number of symptoms (see below). Unlike varicose veins, spider veins do not cause any symptoms- they only produce poor cosmesis.

What are symptoms of varicose veins?

Pain: Leg pain aching, itching, fatigue, burning and swelling are common after prolonged periods of standing. Most individuals complain that the symptoms are worse at the end of the day. This is chiefly due to the pooling of the blood in the legs.

Discoloration: When varicose veins are untreated, they tend to produce a brownish grey discoloration around the ankles (Dermastasis). This occurs because the blood in the veins leaks out into the tissues. The discoloration causes the skin to become very dry and appears unsightly. It is not reversible at this stage.

Ulcers are common with untreated varicose veins. The ulcers always occur around the ankle and are quite painful. These ulcers do not heal until the high pressure system in the veins is treated. In some cases, the ulcers are permanent.

What treatments for spider veins are available in Colorado?

Spider veins can be treated with either:

- sclerotherapy

- laser

- camouflage

Surgery is never used to treat spider veins.

What treatments are available for varicose veins in Colorado?

Most cosmetic and vascular surgeons in Colorado now have available several methods of treating varicose veins. Treatment depends on the physician, his/her experience and the degree of varicose veins. The methods of treatment include:

Vein ligation & stripping: In this procedure the entire vein is stripped. The procedure requires anesthesia. It is an excellent method to treat the very large tortuous and prominent veins which extend from the groin to the ankle. However, most individuals have to take at least 5-7 days off work.

Vein ligation & Stabs: In some cases, only the smaller branches of the vein become varicosed and are easily visible along the thigh. In such cases, the small varicosities can be excised under anesthesia. The major vein is preserved. The procedure does require numerous skin incisions which may not be appealing to all individuals.

Endovenous laser guided: This method utilizes ultrasound with laser or radiofrequency ablation. In both techniques, a small probe is inserted into the vein and the vein is burnt away. Both procedures are relatively painless and destroy the vein in the thigh. Only a small amount of local anesthesia is required. This is a good procedure for individuals with prominent varicose veins in the upper thigh. It has minimal downtime.

Can laser be used to treat varicose veins?

No, varicose veins are large and not suitable for laser. Laser therapy is only suitable for the more superficial spider veins.

Can Varicose & Spider veins recur?

Yes, despite the best treatment and technique, a few branches of the vein may persist and recur. These recurrences can be easily treated with any of the above methods.

How does one prevent spider & varicose veins?

Since there is no cure for spider or varicose veins, prevention is the key. Preventive measures should include:

- avoid prolonged standing

- wear compression stockings

- exercise daily

- keep your weight under control

Who can fix spider & varicose veins in Colorado?

Both spider and varicose veins can be treated by cosmetic surgeons, plastic surgeons, vascular surgeons and dermatologists in Colorado. There are numerous spas and clinics which are operated by non physicians and it is best to avoid them for safety reasons.

Does insurance cover spider & varicose vein treatments?

Unfortunately, because spider veins are considered cosmetic in nature, the cost of treatment is not covered by any insurance companies. For those individuals with varicose veins who have symptoms, the treatment may be partially or fully covered. The cost of treating both spider and varicose veins ranges from $200-400.

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