Varicose veins protrude above your skin, appearing as abnormally enlarged and twisted veins in your legs. In healthy veins, muscles in the vein walls contract to push blood up the leg and valves prevent blood from flowing back down the leg. If your muscles or valves weaken, blood can flow backward, accumulate in the vessels, and cause varicose veins.
Spider veins, also called telangiectasias, occur when small blood vessels near the surface of your skin become enlarged due to excess or ongoing pressure. The purplish-blue veins often form on your face and legs.
Reticular veins are smaller than varicose veins and larger than spider veins. When they enlarge, they have a ropy appearance, but they stay below the skin’s surface. They often supply blood to spider veins.
Spider veins seldom cause symptoms. You may not have symptoms from reticular or varicose veins, but varicose veins often cause:
Spider veins are often eliminated using noninvasive laser, radiofrequency, or intense pulsed light therapies. Otherwise, Dr. Amin treats visible veins using three techniques:
During sclerotherapy, Dr. Amin injects the targeted veins with a medicated foam. The solution irritates the vein walls and causes scarring that blocks blood flow. Over time, the treated veins collapse and disappear.
Lasers used for sclerotherapy operate at a controlled wavelength that’s only absorbed by dark pigments in your blood. These lasers safely pass through your skin, then their energy is absorbed by the targeted veins.
As spider, reticular, or varicose veins absorb laser energy, they’re heated until they break down. Then your body absorbs and eliminates the destroyed veins.
Dr. Amin performs micro-phlebotomies in the office. The procedure only requires local anesthesia, then veins are removed through tiny incisions.
The veins treated with sclerotherapy are permanently removed, but you may develop new spider or varicose veins in the future. Dr. Amin may recommend self-care therapies to lower your risk such as:
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