Spider veins, also known as telangiectasia, or broken capillaries, form when groups of blood vessels close to the surface of the skin dilate and break. As a result, fine-lined networks of red, blue or purple veins — each barely more than the width of a hair — appear on the thighs, calves and ankles. The veins may form patterns resembling a sunburst, a spider web, or a tree with branches, but can also emerge as short, unconnected lines.
Spider Vein Therapy
Spider veins can be treated and eliminated with two major forms of therapy: sclerotherapy and surface laser light treatments. Before treatment begins, a plan of attack must be formulated. First a physical examination and ultrasound examination should be completed to determine the source of the spider veins. Often time patients have sclerotherapy or laser procedures completed with some results and decrease of the spider veins, just to have the veins reappear in a few months. In these cases, the source for the vein pressure wells from below the skin surface in a web of veins called reticular veins. If the larger reticular veins are not dealt with, the surface spider veins will never go away. For such instances, ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy is suggested.
Spider Vein Causes
Although physicians don’t know exactly what causes spider veins, they do know some risk factors for developing them. Spider veins tend to run in families. If your mother or sister has them, you likely will too. Estrogen also may play a role (by relaxing the vein walls), which could explain why women are more likely to get spider veins than men. The upsurge of hormones at puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy and hormone replacement therapy all have been connected to the development of spider veins. Age also makes one ripe for the condition. And an injury, such as being hit in the leg with a softball, increases the chance of developing spider veins later in that same area — even if that injury occurs early in life.
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