Are you too embarrassed or self-conscious to wear clothing that shows off your legs due to unsightly varicose and spider veins? About 55 percent of women and 45 percent of men suffer from insufficient veins, making them an all-too-common nuisance. When left untreated, insufficient veins can lead to potentially uncomfortable symptoms and a number of health complications, including various skin conditions and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
If you feel uncomfortable in your skin due to bulging varicose veins or darkened spider veins or have been experiencing uncomfortable leg pain, soreness or swelling, Dr. Daniel Man is here to help. Dr. Man, a board-certified plastic surgeon and vein expert, will help you identify the underlying cause of your venous insufficiency to both alleviate your symptoms and help avoid issues down the road. Venous insufficiency is treatable. Take the first step toward smooth, youthful and pain-free legs by scheduling your consultation with Dr. Man today.
What Is Venous Insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a common symptom of aging that manifests in symptoms like leg pain, spider and varicose veins, and leg swelling or cramping. The veins are responsible for transporting used blood back up and towards the heart. For blood flow in the legs, this means pushing blood upwards and against the force of gravity. In order to keep blood from flowing backward, the veins use a sophisticated series of one-way valves that ensures blood keeps moving in the correct direction.
As the body ages, these valves can weaken and the walls of the veins can begin to stretch, allowing blood to flow backward and pool in the legs. Obesity, diabetes and a sedentary lifestyle can all contribute to the development of venous insufficiency. Veins located in the legs also rely on muscle contractions in the surrounding tissue to help force the blood upward, meaning long periods of standing or sitting without much movement can create a backflow as well.
Varicose veins appear as twisting, bulging veins just below the surface of the skin. They may be dark or bluish in color and typically develop around the thighs or calves. Varicose veins are created when blood in the legs becomes trapped due to venous insufficiency, causing the veins to fill and bulge outwards, visibly protruding from the skin. These types of insufficient veins are usually just a cosmetic issue, but they may also contribute towards uncomfortable symptoms and even dangerous complications if left untreated.
In addition to their unsightly cosmetic appearance, some common symptoms of varicose veins include:
- Aching or heaviness in the legs
- Leg cramps or fatigue
- Itching or tenderness around the veins
- Bleeding or skin rashes on the legs
- Open leg sores that do not heal
Spider veins appear as dark patches of spiderweb-like vein clusters beneath the skin’s surface. They develop when larger feeder veins become insufficient, causing these small veins to back up and fill with blood. Spider veins are only a cosmetic nuisance due to their unsightly nature, but they are a symptom of a larger issue that may also involve varicose veins or a high risk for skin conditions and health complications.
Spider veins do not cause any pain, but they are a symptom of venous insufficiency. While patients may act on varicose veins due to the uncomfortable symptoms they can create, many choose not to treat their spider veins since they cause no pain or discomfort. However, leaving spider veins untreated can worsen symptoms and create more serious issues down the road.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive vein procedure that involves the use of an injectable chemical agent called sclerosant to treat varicose and spider veins. The sclerosant is injected into problem veins located just beneath the skin’s surface to seal them off and eliminate any unsightly veins or uncomfortable symptoms. The procedure is considered painless by the majority of patients and takes less than one hour.
During a sclerotherapy appointment, Dr. Man will begin by first identifying the problem veins and the main source of the backflow. He will then administer the sclerosant through a series of injections using a very fine needle. Once injected, the sclerosant will irritate the vein walls, causing them to stick together. The vein will then collapse and the body will safely redirect blood flow to deeper, healthier veins located out of sight. The treated vein will be gradually absorbed by the body over the course of several weeks.
Most patients will require a series of three to six sclerotherapy treatments to completely eliminate their problem veins. Every patient is different and their treatment schedule will depend on the number of veins treated and their severity. Treatments are usually scheduled every four to six weeks.
As a minimally invasive and comfortable procedure, sclerotherapy produces little to no side effects. Some potential temporary side effects include minor itching, bruising or soreness that may last one to three days. Patients are encouraged to walk regularly following their treatment to facilitate healthy circulation. Sclerotherapy patients are free to return to work and most normal activities almost immediately. Results develop over the course of several weeks as the body continues to absorb and remove the treated veins.
Laser Vein Therapy
In addition to sclerotherapy, unwanted spider veins can also be eliminated using laser vein therapy. During laser vein therapy, a laser is passed over the surface of the spider veins, heating the blood within. The blood then thickens and coagulates, sealing off the vein from circulation. The treated veins collapse, allowing the body to safely absorb them and redirect blood flow.
Laser vein therapy is not as effective on the legs and is typically performed on blood vessels in sensitive areas like the face. Patients with spider veins that are too small to be treated using sclerotherapy may be good candidates for laser treatment.
Am I a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Since sclerotherapy is a gentle, safe and effective procedure, most patients with signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency make good candidates for the treatment. Venous insufficiency typically develops later in life as the veins begin to age, but adult men and women of any age can undergo sclerotherapy.
Good candidates for the procedure:
- Have bulging varicose veins or dark patches of spider veins they would like to eliminate
- Experience painful or uncomfortable symptoms that harm their quality of life
- Have realistic expectations about the procedure
- Have not had any blood clot conditions in the past
- Are not currently pregnant
Sclerotherapy is not meant to be a venous insufficiency solution, only a method for treating varicose and spider veins. The underlying circulatory issues will remain and will need to be addressed directly for sustained results. Any veins treated using sclerotherapy will not come back, but patients are not immune to developing more insufficient veins following treatment. Dr. Man will discuss methods to prevent and manage venous insufficiency during consultations with his patients, such as the use of compression therapy and other conservative methods.
Schedule Your Consultation with Dr. Daniel Man to Learn More
If varicose or spider veins have stolen your self-confidence, take it back with the help of Dr. Man. Using effective and nonsurgical vein treatments, Dr. Man will help you address your unsightly or painful veins without disrupting your busy life. Constantly wearing pants or feeling the need to hide your legs should not be your only options for dealing with venous insufficiency. Call the office of Daniel Man, M.D., today at 561-395-5508 to learn how we can give you smooth, radiant, youthful legs again.