Medical Q&A: Varicose Veins, Spider Veins

bildeQuestion for Dr. Christopher Meyer, a general, vascular and thoracic surgeon in in Lake Wales, who is on the medical staff of Lake Wales Medical Center.

Dr. Christopher Meyer.

What are varicose veins and spider veins? Are they dangerous? Varicose veins are large, twisting veins. They are caused by blood pooling in the legs. They can be painful and dangerous in some situations. For example, they can bleed if cut or bumped. They also can form clots and become infected, a condition known as thrombophlebitis. Also, blood pooling in the legs can cause leg swelling, brown discoloration of the skin, or even ulcers. Fortunately, there is a laser procedure called EVLT which cures varicose veins and their accompanying symptoms without surgery. This can be done in the office, during your lunch break with minimal discomfort and no recovery. This procedure is covered by Medicare and most insurance companies. Spider veins are tiny red or purple veins. Although they may be a sign of a deeper problem, spider veins themselves are harmless. Patients who find them unsightly can choose to have them treated using one of several available in-office treatment options.

How Do I Get Rid of Spider Veins ?

Spider VeinsSpider veins are small red or purple veins that are less than one millimeter in diameter.  These are different than larger varicose veins.  Spider veins tend to be more difficult to treat than any other type of vein.  Unfortunately, there is no magic eraser to remove these veins.  The key to removing them, is to first cut off the abnormal blood flow into the veins.  This can be done by phlebectomy (removing the vein) or sclerotherapy (injecting a detergent into the vein to close it).   Second, we attack the visible spider veins themselves.  This can be done by using Vein Gogh which destroys the veins from the outside.  This leaves a scratch where the vein was and as the scratch heals the vein disappears.  The other method is sclerotherapy in which we destroy the vein from the inside by injecting a detergent.
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