The veins in the legs have to pump the blood towards the heart against the force of gravity. They act as one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. If this one-way valve becomes weak, the blood flows back into the vein, stagnates there and becomes congested. This congestion causes the vein to become abnormally enlarged. Such enlarged veins are called spider veins / varicose veins based on their appearance and size.
Spider veins are smaller in size than varicose veins and are usually red or blue in color. They look like a spider web with their short jagged lines. Varicose veins are bluish purple in color and are slightly raised above the skin surface. They are seen as bulging veins on the back of the calves or the inside of the leg.
Sclerotherapy for spider vein and varicose vein treatment
Sclerotherapy is commonly used for both spider vein treatment and for varicose veins. In this method, a solution is injected into the vein that causes the walls of the affected vein to swell and seal shut. This helps to stop the flow of blood and turns the vein into scar tissue. Sclerotherapy does not require anesthesia and can be done in the doctor’s office.
Using laser for varicose veins and spider veins is increasingly considered an effective treatment option. Laser therapy works by sending strong bursts of light onto the vein, which makes the vein fade and disappear slowly. Lasers work directly and accurately and hence, do not cause damage to any area other than the one being treated. This therapy is safe and suitable for all skin types and colors. The therapy lasts for about 15 to 20 minutes. Generally, two to five treatment sessions are needed, depending on the severity of the problem. Laser for spider veins causes fewer side effects. In some patients, the skin may become red and swollen at the site of treatment. But, these symptoms disappear within a few days.
Types of lasers
Different types of lasers are used to treat spider veins and also varicose veins. Yellow light lasers, intense pulsed light systems and green light lasers are the commonly used lasers for these conditions.
This method of treatment involves placing a tube or a special catheter into the affected vein. The catheter sends out radiofrequency energy that causes the vein walls to shrink and shut completely. Later, the healthier veins surrounding the affected vein restore the normal flow of blood. Slight bruising may occur at the site of procedure in some cases.
Current treatments like laser for varicose veins and spider veins have a higher rate of success. Laser therapy is non invasive and helps patients avoid the discomfort of incisions and needles. Patients can return to their routine activities immediately after the treatment. The risk of side effects is also minimal. For these reasons, laser therapy is the most preferred method for treating varicose veins and spider veins.