Spider Veins

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What are spider veins?
Spider veins - know in the medical world as telangiectasias - are small, thin veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. Although these super-fine veins are connected with the larger venous system, they are not an essential part of it. Spider veins usually take on one of three basic patterns. They may appear in a true spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point, they may resemble tiny branch-like shapes, or they may appear as thin separate lines. A number of factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including heredity, pregnancy and other events that cause hormonal shifts, weight gain, occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing, and the use of certain medications.


What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is the method we used for eliminating superficial telangiectasias or spider veins by the injection a sclerosing agent into the veins. Although a majority of patients will have a significant clearing of the veins, there can be no guarantee that it will be effective in every case.


How many treatments are needed?

It is very important to realize that Sclerotherapy does not prevent the development of new spider veins and varicosities later in life. Many people require treatments from time to time to keep their legs clear. The total of number of treatments depends upon the amount and the severity of the veins (average is 3-5 but can take more than 10 in severe cases). In each session multiple areas can be treated. Each vein may need to be injected several times, in order to clear or improve the condition. Improvement is usually seen in a period of months.


I am pregnant. Can I have sclerotherapy?

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may be advised to postpone Sclerotherapy treatments. In most cases, spider veins that surface during pregnancy will disappear on their own within three months after the baby is born. Also because it’s not known how sclerosing solutions may affect breast milk, nursing mothers are usually advised to wait until after they have stopped breastfeeding.


Does sclerotherapy for spider veins hurt?

Most people report little if any discomfort. Occasionally, mild burning may be felt at the injection site that resolves after a few minutes.


What are the side effects of sclerotherapy for spider veins?

Bruising at the injection sites is normal following treatment and resolves in 7-10 days. Slight hyperpigmentation (staining) of the skin or telangiectatic matting (tiny new veins) can occur but is usually temporary. Complications such as ulceration or allergies to the sclerosant are extremely rare. In general, sclerotherapy is a very safe treatment.


How long will the results of treatment for varicose and spider veins last?

Since varicose and spider veins are a chronic condition, new veins will likely appear over time. Most people can remain "vein free" by returning for touch-up visits every couple of years.


Will my insurance cover these procedures?

Treatment of spider veins is often considered “cosmetic” and may not be covered by your health insurance. However, the diagnosis and treatment of significant health problems due to diseased veins are covered by most insurance companies if the problem is deemed “medically necessary.” An initial evaluation will be done to determine if your vein disorder is causing health problems or if it is strictly cosmetic. Please check your individual coverage with your insurance provider. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call Advanced Medical Imaging at 860-489-7314