Ready to show your legs?
Pregnancy and aging are the two main causes of varicose and spider veins., which can be unsightly and cause women to avoid clothing and activities that expose their legs. In addition to the aesthetic concerns, there are also potential circulatory issues related to these types of veins that should be investigated by a medical professional.
After having her second child, Cathy Munn noticed several spider veins had popped up around her ankles. Chalking up the veins to the after effects of her pregnancies and aging, Cathy initially accepted the inevitability of the situation—but that didn’t mean she liked it.
“It got so I didn’t want to wear shorts in the summer and always wore long pants,” Munn said. “And if I wore a dress, I would put on stockings or panty hose to cover up my legs.”
As the years passed, Cathy’s spider veins continued to spread and show up elsewhere on her legs. And as her veins became more noticeable, Cathy’s frustration with the unsightly nature of the condition expanded as well. While she didn’t experience pain, Cathy realized her spider veins wouldn’t go away or fade on their own. It reached a point when she became quite vocal to friends and family members about not liking her legs.
Noticing she was growing increasingly self conscious about her legs, Cathy’s family gave her a fairly unique Christmas present - an appointment and treatment at VeinSolutions in Edina. Thrilled by the prospect of having her spider veins removed, Cathy took the first step and went in for a free consultation with Dr. Phifer Nicholson at the VeinSolutions clinic.
What are varicose veins?
When veins are working properly, their valves pump blood from the limbs back to the heart. When these valves fail or leak, some of the blood flows in a backward direction where it may collect and pool in the legs. This can cause the veins to become enlarged, and that's when you may experience symptoms such as pain, burning, itching, throbbing and fatigue. Varicose veins may also interfere with your daily life.
Left untreated, varicose veins may cause serious health issues such as venous leg ulcers, skin discolorations or blood clots. For patients with varicose veins, a portion of their treatment may be cosmetic, but some of it may also be medically necessary. Common risk factors include: heredity, pregnancy, occupation, obesity, age, and trauma.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are closer to the skin's surface and are small, threadlike and wispy. They typically appear red or purple in color; however, reticular veins or “feeder” veins may be bluish-green and can have a marbled appearance. Spider veins and reticular veins are generally considered a cosmetic condition and are usually not covered by insurance. Common risk factors include: heredity, pregnancy, hormones, obesity, and trauma.
What are facial veins?
Facial spider veins range in size from small, wispy red and purple veins to larger blue-green veins. The small veins are commonly seen on the nose, cheeks and chin. The larger veins may be found in the temple area, around the eyes and along the jaw line. These veins typically do not cause pain and are considered cosmetic. Common vascular birthmarks are port-wine stains and hemangiomas. Port-wine stains, which are dark red or purple, consist of superficial and deep dilated capillaries in the skin and most often occur on the face but can appear anywhere on the body. Common risk factors include: heredity, trauma, and sun damage.
What treatments are available?
Compression Hose Therapy
Prescription compression hose helps support weakened veins and may enable you to lead a pain-free, active lifestyle. It is important, however, to maintain a doctor-prescribed program of wearing medical hose, or your condition could worsen over time.
Minimally Invasive Vein Ablation (MIVA)
MIVA is a modern surgical technique of removing the refluxing vein(s) with long-lasting results. Forget the long, painful recoveries and large scars you may have associated with traditional vein stripping surgeries in the past. Not only is MIVA cosmetically pleasing, it is performed on an outpatient basis and is covered by most insurance plans.
Radio Frequency Ablation (VNUS Closure)
The VNUS Closure procedure is performed on an outpatient basis by using radiofrequency (RF) energy applied to the inside walls of the refluxing vein(s). As the RF energy is delivered and the catheter is withdrawn through the damaged vein, the vein wall heats up causing the wall to shrink and the vein to close. Patients who undergo the Closure procedure often resume normal activities quickly with excellent cosmetic and therapeutic results.
This procedure is done together with MIVA or Closure and removes the unsightly bulging veins on the surface of the legs.
This treatment is most often performed to eliminate spider veins. With sclerotherapy, the physician injects an FDA-approved solution into the problem vein with a very fine needle, causing the vein wall to become sticky. Following the injections, the patient wears prescription-grade compression hose for a few days, gluing the vein walls together. The body then breaks down the damaged vein and absorbs it, causing it to disappear over time. The procedure is relatively painless, and you are able to resume many daily activities immediately. Most patients will need about two to four sclerotherapy treatments to achieve their desired results.
VeinGogh uses low energy radiofrequency to treat leg or facial spider veins that are too small to be treated with sclerotherapy. Radiofrequency is delivered through a very fine needle tip that is applied to the skin overlying a small spider vein. The fine needle barely penetrates the skin, damages the spider vein and causes it to scar and close. Typically the skin in the treated area becomes red and irritated within minutes of the treatment and resolves over a few hours.
At VeinSolutions, we use an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) machine, not a laser. Because IPL does not damage surrounding skin, it is appropriate for treating fine spider veins on the face or trunk as well as vascular birthmarks such as hemangiomas and port-wine stains. Facial lesions will often be eliminated with just one or two treatments.
Following up with Cathy
After an initial assessment of her veins by Dr. Nicholson, Cathy returned to VeinSolutions for successful treatment. She was thrilled by the results and would highly recommend the clinic to anyone with spider veins or varicose veins.
“I feel like I got my legs back and best of all, now I can wear shorts,” Cathy said with a smile.
To learn more about treatments for spider veins and varicose veins, and to make an appointment for a free consultation, visit VeinSolutionsMN.com or call 952-831-VEIN.