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Everything You Need to Know About Spider Veins

Everything You Need to Know About Spider Veins

Spider veins are those unattractive little blue, red or purple lines that can appear on your lower legs or face. As their name suggests, spider veins look like spider webs. While these veins are tiny, usually measuring only a millimeter or smaller, they can ruin the smooth, youthful appearance of your skin.

The scientific name for spider veins is telangiectasias. This vein condition is quite common, affecting up to 84 percent of people, according to one study. They can show up anywhere within your body but are most noticeable in your skin, eyes or mucus membranes.


Causes of Spider Veins

To understand the causes of spider veins, it is helpful to know what veins do in your body. Arteries carry oxygen-rich blood from your heart to all the parts of your body, including your extremities. Veins move oxygen-poor blood from your extremities back to your heart. Gravity helps arteries move blood in a downward direction but it makes it more difficult for veins to move the blood back up.

Blood can accumulate in these veins, especially in the veins in your lower legs and feet. In time, these veins become bloated; affected veins near the surface of the skin appear as spider or varicose veins.

Some people have a genetic predisposition to the development of spider veins, which means that you may have inherited your vulnerability to them from your parents. Other factors contribute to your risk for developing spider veins, including an occupation that keeps you on your feet, obesity, hormone fluctuations, pregnancy, alcohol use, some medications and certain illnesses.

Spider veins are often unsightly but usually not harmful. In some cases, however, these veins may cause aching, pain or burning, especially after you have been standing for a long time. Treatment may be right for you if you are concerned about the appearance of spider veins or if they cause you symptoms.


Gig Harbor Vein Doctors Discuss Treatment for Spider Veins

Vein doctors in Gig Harbor perform two safe and effective spider vein treatments, sclerotherapy and laser light therapy. Both treatments irritate and damage the diseased vein to the point where it can no longer carry blood. In time, the treated vein breaks apart. Surrounding tissue absorbs the vein. Your body simply reroutes your blood through nearby healthy veins.

In sclerotherapy, vascular surgeons inject a liquid or foam irritant known as a sclerosant into the vein. The sclerosant causes irritation to the lining of the vein. This irritation eventually results in closure and absorption of the vein. Sclerotherapy addresses diseased veins at an early stage, before complications and further unsightliness can develop.

Laser light therapy uses the power of light pulsed at a specific wavelength to treat the smallest spider veins and broken capillaries. Laser light therapy is a quick procedure that causes minimal discomfort.

Make an appointment with your Gig Harbor vein clinic if you have questions or concerns about vein treatment for your spider veins.

Vein Treatment Options are Important

If you’re having trouble with varicose veins or related problems, vein treatment may be right for you. Fortunately, there are a number of different kinds of vein treatments to consider. That can give you plenty of opportunities to decide what will work for you. By discussing your thoughts and concerns with your vascular surgeon, you can reduce the risk of any problems and get the right treatment you will feel comfortable with. Vein doctors are there to help you, and can certainly make suggestions as to what treatment would be your best choice. However, the treatment option you choose should also be one you feel comfortable with.

Seeing a vein clinic can get you started on the path toward the right vein treatment option for your needs, so you can get the procedure done and get back to living your life. Whether you have a VNUS Closure, the Venefit Procedure, or something else, it’s important that you talk to vascular surgeons who are used to doing these procedures and who explain to you which one is right for you – and why. The more you know about your healthcare and the procedures you’re considering, the better off you’ll be as an informed consumer and an advocate for your own health.

Ask Your Doctor About the Venefit Procedure or a VNUS Closure

Because the Venefit Procedure and the VNUS Closure are different types of procedures, you’ll want to talk with your vascular surgeon about them before making a decision. That way you can feel comfortable when you have the procedure, and get the best possible outcome. Getting rid of varicose veins can make you look and feel much better, so don’t put off treatment any longer. Rather than just hope your veins improve, seeking out treatment can help you get control of any underlying conditions and improve the way your legs feel. People with varicose veins often struggle with pain or discomfort in their legs. They can feel restless, or their legs may hurt, ache, or feel heavy.

If you’re noticing those kinds of problems, and/or you don’t like the way varicose veins make your legs look, working with a vein clinic to make improvements to your health and self-confidence can be an excellent choice. Because there are several treatment options today that most people are eligible for, you can consider a procedure that doesn’t cause too much downtime, so you can resume your normal activities quickly. That’s a great choice for highly active people, and can also help you avoid missing work or meeting your other obligations. Talking with your vascular surgeon will help you determine which options you’re a good candidate for, and narrow down the list of procedures that would work best for your needs.

Vascular Surgeons Discuss Several Types of Vein Disease

If you suffer vein disease, you are not alone.  Vein disease, which affects about one out of every three people in the United States over the age of 45, interferes with the way blood circulates in your body,


Every beat of your heart pumps blood through the arteries, veins and capillaries that make up your circulatory system. Your arteries work with gravity to carry blood from your heart to the rest of your body. Veins work against gravity to carry blood from the far reaches of your body, including your feet, back to your heart.

Gig Harbor Vein Doctors Describe Vein Disease and Vein Treatments

Vein diseases are a group of conditions that affect the blood vessels carrying blood back up to your heart. The most commonly known vein diseases are varicose veins and spider veins. These conditions occur when blood accumulates to cause veins to enlarge and bloat enough to be visible on the surface of your skin. Vascular surgeons treat varicose veins and spider veins with a variety of vein treatment procedures, including sclerotherapy, Venefit, Venefit Procedure and VNUS Closure.


Vein disease often involves deterioration of the internal walls of the veins or defective valves. Sometimes the valves are incompetent, meaning they used to work but now function poorly. Incompetent and defective valves allow blood to flow backwards towards your feet. Doctors refer to this as “reflux.”


When reflex occurs in incompetent valves in superficial veins, deeper veins must pick up the slack and work harder to carry more blood towards your heart. Sometimes these deeper veins will compensate by expanding or leaving valves open, thereby creating incompetent veins deeper in your leg. When your circulatory system can no longer pump the blood effectively from your lower leg to your heart, the veins stay full of old blood, even when you walk around.


Types of Vein Disease

Without relief, pressure builds inside these veins to create a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This vein disease can cause swelling, skin changes and even skin sores that doctors refer to as “venous stasis ulcers.”


Pooled blood stagnates inside veins. Blood tends to clot when it sits still, so pooled blood associated with CVI increases your risk for developing blood clots in your legs. Vein doctors refer to a blood clot in a deep vein as deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Symptoms, if they appear, can include pain and swelling. Clots can break apart and pieces can move to your lungs to cause a pulmonary embolism that strains your heart and lungs.


Clots can make veins swell in a condition vascular surgeons refer to as thrombophlebitis. This condition can cause serious medical complications, including DVT and pulmonary embolism. Vein doctors use ultrasound to diagnose thrombophlebitis and CVT.

Gig Harbor Vein Doctors Discuss Varicose Vein Treatment

Varicose vein treatment can help you reduce the appearance of bulging, twisted, purple or blue veins in your legs. Vascular surgeons at our Gig Harbor vein clinic perform a number of varicose vein treatment procedures that reduce the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins.


Vein Doctors Explain the Theory behind Varicose Vein Treatment

The focus of varicose vein treatment is to collapse these diseased veins. Surrounding tissue absorbs the collapsed vein. Your circulatory system reroutes blood through nearby veins.


There are many types of varicose vein treatment options available today.




Venefit uses the power of radiofrequency waves to cause irritation to varicose veins. Vascular surgeons perform the Venefit procedure by inserting a thin, flexible tube, known as a catheter, into the diseased vein. The vein doctors then send radiofrequency waves through the catheter to heat up collagen fibers, which cause the fibers to shrink. Vascular surgeons often use ultrasound to guide their instruments.

Venefit, previously known as VNUS Closure, requires only local anesthetic and takes an hour or less to complete. The Venefit procedures offers an excellent recovery time – if you are like most people, you will walk immediately after the procedure and resume your normal activities shortly thereafter. Venefit also produces less discomfort and bruising than some types of laser treatments.


Laser Ablation (EVLT)

Endovenous laser ablation (EVLT) uses targeted laser light to seal diseased veins shut. EVLT is minimally invasive. Vein doctors perform EVLT by delivering laser light through the catheter.

Like Venefit, EVLT takes less than an hour at your local vein clinic and has a quick recovery time.

Nonthermal Ablation

Nonthermal ablation is the newest and least invasive varicose vein treatment available today. Vascular surgeons use chemical energy, rather than heat energy produced by Venefit and EVLT, to close veins. Because it does not produce heat, this treatment for varicose veins does not require anesthesia so it is safe and comfortable.



Sclerotherapy uses chemicals to irritate and close varicose and spider veins. Vein surgeons use a needle to inject the chemical, known as a sclerosant, into the diseased vein. Sclerosants can be liquid or foam. Vein doctors may use ultrasound to place needles in the most effective position possible.

Sclerotherapy is not right for everyone. Only a vein specialist can determine which vein treatment is right for you. At Northwest Vein Center, we offer the safest, most effective varicose vein treatment options available.


If you suffer from vein problems and are wondering if varicose vein treatment is right for you, make an appointment with our Gig Harbor vein doctors.