Laser Removal of Spider Veins

What Are Spider Veins, and What Causes Them?

Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are small, thin blood vessels visible beneath the skin. They appear most commonly on the face and legs, and may look like a series of lines, tree branches or spider webs.

Spider veins are caused by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Genetics: A family history of spider or varicose veins can raise the risk of developing them.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal changes, such as pregnancy, puberty, or menopause, can contribute to the development of spider veins.
  • Age: As people age, the veins lose elasticity, making them more prone to dilation and the formation of spider veins.
  • Occupation of lifestyle: Jobs or activities that require lengthy periods of standing or sitting can increase the likelihood of getting spider veins.
  • Obesity: Excess weight can add pressure on veins and lead to their enlargement and the formation of spider veins.
  • Sun exposure: Excessive sun exposure can damage the skin and weaken blood vessels, contributing to the development of spider veins.

What Are the Symptoms of Spider Veins?

Symptoms associated with spider veins can include:

  • Visible veins: Spider veins are easily noticeable, appearing as fine lines or clusters of veins on the skin, resembling spider webs or tree branches.
  • Coloration: They can appear red, blue, or purple, depending on the depth and size of the affected blood vessels.
  • Pain or discomfort: While spider veins typically do not cause physical symptoms, some individuals may experience aching, burning, or throbbing sensations, especially after prolonged standing or sitting.
  • Itching: The affected area may feel itchy or irritated.
  • Swelling: In some cases, spider veins may be associated with mild swelling around the affected area.
  • Restless leg syndrome: Some individuals with spider veins may experience restless legs syndrome, a condition characterized by an irresistible urge to move the legs, often accompanied by uncomfortable sensations.

Not everyone will have the same symptoms. Some people experience painful symptoms such as aching, burning, swelling, and cramping from spider veins, while others are simply bothered by their appearance.

How Is the Treatment for Spider Veins Conducted?

Treatment for spider veins is often sought for cosmetic reasons or when symptoms are bothersome. Common treatment options include:

  • Sclerotherapy: This includes injecting a solution directly into the afflicted veins, which causes them to collapse and gradually fade away.
  • Laser therapy: Laser treatment targets the spider veins with focused light energy, causing them to coagulate and gradually disappear.
  • Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT): This procedure is specifically used for larger varicose veins but can also be effective for certain types of spider veins. It involves the use of laser energy delivered through a catheter to heat and seal off the affected vein.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: Similar to EVLT, this procedure uses heat generated by radiofrequency energy to close off abnormal veins.
  • Vein stripping: In more severe cases, surgical removal of the affected veins may be necessary.

Treatment for spider veins can be done through traditional sclerotherapy or through more advanced and minimally invasive laser procedures. Laser treatment for spider veins offers patients:

  • Fewer side effects
  • Less trauma
  • Shorter treatment time
  • Shorter recovery time
  • Minimal downtime

There are several different types of laser treatment available, including endovenous laser treatment, or EVLT, which treats large veins by passing a laser fiber through a catheter directly into the vein. Veins just under the surface of the skin can be treated with a simpler laser procedure over the course of several treatment sessions.

After performing a physical examination and going over a patient's medical history and general health, Dr. Nael Gharbi or Dr. Shazel Gharbi will decide which procedure is best for each individual patient.

Common FAQs About Spider Veins

Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose veins, rather than spider veins specifically. However, the technique can sometimes be used for smaller varicose veins and may also help improve the appearance of varicose veins.

Local anesthesia is administered to numb the area around the vein to be treated. This helps minimize discomfort during the procedure. A small incision is made near the varicose vein, usually around the knee area or lower tight. A thin laser fiber is then inserted into the vein through this incision.

Once the laser fiber is in position, laser energy is sent into the vein, forcing it to collapse and seal. This process redirects blood flow to healthier veins. After the treatment is complete, the laser fiber is removed, and a compression bandage or compression stocking may be applied to the treated area. Compression helps reduce swelling and promotes healing.

The level of discomfort experienced during spider vein treatment varies depending on the individual and the chosen method of treatment. Sclerotherapy and laser therapy are usually well-tolerated and only cause mild discomfort or a slight burning sensation. However, some patients may experience temporary bruising, swelling, or discomfort following treatment.

While it may not be possible to prevent spider veins entirely, you can reduce your risk by maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing, wearing compression stockings if recommended, exercising regularly, and protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure.

Spider veins are harmless and don't pose any significant health risks. However, they can cause discomfort or pain and, in rare cases, may indicate underlying venous insufficiency or circulation problems.

Spider veins may recur over time, especially if the root cause is not addressed or if predisposing factors such as genetics or hormonal changes persist. However, proper maintenance and follow-up care, along with lifestyle changes, might help reduce the risk of relapse.

Get Your Spider Veins Treated in Chicago, IL

You don’t have to live with spider veins. When you’re ready to discuss treatment options, reach out to Old Town Med Spa. Dr. Nael Gharbi or Dr. Shazel Gharbi will be happy to guide you through your spider vein treatment. Call one of our three locations in Chicago: (312) 643-1689 (Old Town), (312) 882-0700 (Lincoln Park), or (312) 643-1689 (Bucktown), or fill out our online form.

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