Varicose veins are superficial, dilated veins that are serving as a type of reservoir for extra blood in the legs, ankles and feet. When patients have what is known as superficial venous insufficiency, the little valves inside the veins weaken or are damaged, making them less able to efficiently guide blood up the body from the feet back to the heart. These faulty valves in the veins allow blood to move downwards, due to gravity, and it pools in the lower extremities. The veins expand to accommodate the extra blood, leading to the bulging, twisting veins you see on the legs with varicose veins.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are quite different. Spider veins are much thinner and narrower than varicose veins. They form a web-like pattern, usually red, purple or blue in color, on the surface of the skin. They usually don’t bulge outwards like varicose veins do. In addition to the legs, spider veins may develop on the chest, face or other body regions. As with varicose veins, genetics plays a significant role in who gets spider veins, as do aging and lifestyle factors such as standing for extended periods of time or being overweight or obese.
How Can I Get Rid of Spider or Varicose Veins?
Varicose vein treatment options in Houston have come a long way since the days when our parents might have had vein treatments. These days, treatments are minimally invasive, meaning they require only tiny incisions or a needle stick (and thus only local anesthetics), and they can be performed right in the doctor’s office in about an hour. Patients are up and on their way quickly and are back at their usual activities. Treatments range from sclerotherapy to microphlebectomy and radiofrequency ablation. After an initial examination and interview, Dr. Rao or Dr. Johnson will be able to recommend the best treatment modality for your particular situation.
Check out our video of Dr. Rao explaining varicose & spider veins!