Millions of women are affected by tiny small "star" shaped veins which are commonly referred to as spider veins (or telangiectasias). Why these spider veins occur is not really known but conditions like obesity, pregnancy, use of the birth control pill and standing around for prolonged periods are definitely linked to it. It is believed that any condition that causes increased pressure in the leg will cause the smaller vein branches to protrude or rupture close to the skin surface.
Despite this understanding, we still do not have a cure for spider veins. All treatments available today are not curative and spider veins can and do recur. Even though all races are affected, spider veins are most conspicuous in fair or light skinned people.
Los Angeles is the Mecca for venous surgery and all the latest advances in treatment are available in this city. Treatment for spider veins are now offered in almost every cosmetic spa and veins clinics throughout Los Angeles- Infact vein clinics in Los Angeles are just as common as McDonald's.
The two most commonly used treatments for spider veins are:
Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy has been around for decades and the technique requires the injection of a small amount of a chemical into each spider vein. The chemical causes irritation and collapse of the spider vein, with subsequent disappearance. Multiple spider veins can be treated at the same time but most individuals can only tolerate 20-25 needle pricks in one session. After the procedure, compressive garments are worn to maintain pressure on the treated veins and prevent bruising. Occasionally the chemical may leak out of the vein and cause a profound darkening of the adjacent skin.
Laser: Laser requires the use of a hand held probe which is aimed towards the spider vein and obliterating it. Today, laser is widely available in most cosmetic clinics and is the preferred mode of treatment for spider veins. Unlike sclerotherapy, the laser treatment is much faster and has little downtime. Lasers do not require any injections or compressive garments. The laser is slightly more expensive than sclerotherapy but it does save time and is a little less painful.
How can I prevent spider veins?
For those who are undecided about either laser or sclerotherapy, preventive measures may help existing spider veins from getting worse and help prevent new ones. Preventive measures should include:
- wear compression stockings on a daily basis
- remain active and walk/exercise daily
- maintain a normal weight
- avoid standing or sitting in one position for extended periods
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