Sometimes beauty does go more than skin deep. If you are one of (more than) 30% of the adult population with varicose or spider veins, then you are familiar with the struggles that come with concealing and living with this unsightly and sometimes painful vascular issue.
At MINTS Medical, we understand that sometimes beauty and health go hand in hand. Some of our patients come to us struggling with the unsightly appearance of dark purple and blue spider veins, while others are suffering from some of the more severe symptoms of varicose veins. No matter what your needs are, we approach our patient’s issues with care, offering only the least invasive and most effective procedures to achieve maximum results.
Varicose Veins Vs. Spider Veins (telangiectasias)
Vascular issues can cause visible symptoms across a wide spectrum. The least severe and most common are called spider veins, which show up under the skin as dark purple, blue, or red thin lines. Sometimes looking like a web, or maze. Spider veins are flat, and can’t be felt by the hand. While unsightly, they are non-threatening and usually occur in the legs, lower part of the body, and sometimes the face.Varicose veins also look like dark purple or blue colored veins running under the skin, but are characterized by their raised and bulging surface. The twisted, swollen appearance of these veins is what gives them their name “varicose”, meaning “swollen”. The presence of varicose veins, while most often harmless, are an indicator of vascular issues and circulatory problems and should always be examined by a doctor. Most varicose veins are simply unsightly, and don’t pose a large threat or discomfort, but occasionally, severe cases of varicose veins can cause other symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
Women have the highest risk of developing both spider veins and varicose veins, but we see them commonly occurring in patients with lifestyles that include long periods of standing and increased pressure on the legs. Genetics plays a big factor, as well. If your family has a history of developing them, then you are also at a higher risk of developing varicose veins.
The exact cause of varicose veins is in the veins themselves. In healthy veins, deoxygenated blood pumps through the veins, taking it back to the heart, while valves keep this blood flowing in the proper direction, and prevent it from reversing course. Varicose veins are caused when the valves become damaged, through stretching, loss of elasticity, or inflammation, and allow blood to flow in the wrong direction and accumulate in the vein.
The leading causes of this are increased pressure, which is why varicose and spider veins are most commonly found in the feet, legs and lower part of the body. Occasionally varicose veins are also caused by diseases such as phlebitis, blood clots, or some congenital abnormality of the veins themselves, and are generally progressive. Though, there are a few treatments that we suggest our patients try at home to relieve some of the symptoms of varicose veins and stop their progression.
We have patients who come to us asking for at-home remedies to help reduce discomfort that comes with severe varicose vein symptoms. Here are some things you can do on your own to treat your varicose veins:
Often these actions are enough to reduce discomfort and slow the onset of further varicose veins, but our patients are seeking a more permanent result or the removal of the appearance of the veins altogether. In these cases, our doctors at Mint Medical offer a range of treatments for varicose and spider veins, depending on the severity of the issues. From surgical procedures, to remove the largest and most obvious varicose veins, to laser treatments, which cause the veins to clot and collapse.
One of the least invasive treatments available for varicose and spider veins involves injecting a chemical into the veins, designed to scar the vein itself. This procedure is typically used to treat patients who have tried compression and other at home remedies already. The chemicals used in sclerotherapy are injected into the varicose or spider veins using a thin needle, and are designed to irritate the inner lining of the vein, causing it to swell, clot and eventually turn into scar tissue and fade. It’s a fairly quick procedure and most patients are done within an hour or so. After-care involves using compression bandages and a walking regimen to prevent further development of blood clots and complications.
Ablation (Radio Frequency, Endovenous Laser Treatment)
Another option for patients with varicose veins is ablation (sealing of the vein), a procedure done using radio frequency, lasers or another method. In ablation, the walls of the vein are treated with heat, causing the vein to collapse and seal shut. After the patient is treated with local anesthetic, the doctor performing the procedure makes a small incision and feeds a catheter into the varicose vein to transfer either the laser or radiofrequency energy directly into the vein walls. This procedure is fairly quick and provides immediate results, making it a great choice for many of our patients.
Micro Surgery (Micro Phlebectomy)
For the largest varicose veins, we offer surgical options which result in a total removal of the vein. During micro phlebectomy, the doctor makes multiple tiny incision over the varicosities and uses small hooks to tweeze small portions of the veins out. The process disrupts the continuity of the veins. Healing is within a few days.
We, at MINTS Medical love helping our Chicago patients regain their confidence. If you are feeling self-conscious about your varicose veins or spider veins, contact our staff us for a free consultation!