As we get older, or our body undergoes certain changes, our veins may start to darken and become visible through our skin. Once an unfortunate fact of life, unsightly and unwanted leg veins can now be treated by your dermatologist using a procedure called sclerotherapy.
Veins are critical for the movement of blood within the body, and support every bodily function. By providing oxygen and recycling deoxygenated blood back to the lungs and heart. Sometimes, and especially within the lower trunk of the body, that is, the legs, veins can begin to lose their ability to pump blood efficiently. Veins are meant to be a one-way track, but the valves responsible for preventing blood from going backwards sometimes weaken. When this happens, blood can flow backward due to gravity and put pressure on the walls of the veins. After some time, these veins bulge and become visible through the skin. Visible leg veins are referred to as spider veins or varicose veins. Varicose veins can bulge so much that they actually raise the skin. Varicose veins are much wider than spider veins, and aren’t usually as widespread on the legs all at once. Spider veins are smaller and are not raised. Instead, a spider vein forms a wider ‘network’ of red or purple veins that resembles a spider web. While they are different in appearance, varicose and spider veins are caused by the same problem.
Varicose veins and spider veins can occur for a number of reasons, chiefest among them being aging. Unfortunately, as we age our skin and other structures begin to weaken. Our veins are not spared this weakening. People over 40 are more likely to develop spider veins, regardless of other contributing factors. The tendency to develop visible leg veins seems to be hereditary, meaning you’re more likely to get them if your older relative developed them too. Leg veins also can be caused by things like pregnancy, injury and sun damage. Each of these causes contribute to the likelihood for developing varicose or spider veins, but that does not mean every pregnant woman or person who experiences sun damage will get them.
Sclerotherapy is the leading way to treat visible leg veins. After your dermatologist assesses your skin and determines that you’re a good candidate for sclerotherapy, you might be wondering what that treatment entails. The idea behind sclerotherapy is simple enough: a solution of hypertonic saline is injected into the affected veins. This solution irritates the walls of the veins and causes them to stick together, improving circulation and clearing the stuck blood from the veins. The results aren’t instantaneous, and you’ll need to do everything your dermatologist tells you to do to make sure your treatment is successful.
Sclerotherapy treatment can cause discomfort, similar to that of a vaccination shot. Your dermatologist will inject multiple sections of the veins to ensure that the solution is properly distributed. You may need more than one session, but you should see results within a few months for varicose veins. Spider veins take about a month or so to start to disappear. Sclerotherapy is quick and relatively painless, and it’s very effective at treating spider veins and mild to moderate varicose veins.
If you’ve got leg veins, you should really consider talking to your doctor about sclerotherapy, because it works! Call the sclerotherapy experts at Northeast Dermatology Associates for an appointment today.
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