Cosmetic leg veins called spider veins and reticular veins plague over 50% of women and over 40% of men in the United States. A number of factors contribute to the development of cosmetic leg veins including heredity, pregnancy and other events that cause hormonal shifts, weight gain, occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing, prior injury to the area, deep venous disease, and the use of certain medications (such as Tamoxifen and Estrogens).
Spider veins are medically known as telangiectases. They are small, thin veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. Although these very 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. Spider veins may become noticeable very early on – in the teen years. For others, the veins may not become obvious until a patient is in their 40s.
Reticular veins are also small veins in the skin but have a slightly larger diameter than spider veins, are often bluer in color, and located somewhat deeper in the skin. They often feed the spider veins and if present, may need to be treated for spider vein treatment to be successful.
Sclerotherapy or injection therapy is the most effective and commonly used treatment for spider and reticular veins on the thighs and legs. Sclerotherapy utilizes injection of a sclerosing agent into the veins. This agent irritates the inner lining of the veins causing the veins to shrink in diameter and become much less visible. With successful therapy, the treated vein fades over time and normal activities are allowed within a few days of treatment. The number of injections and treatment sessions vary depending on the patient’s condition and response to treatment. Most patients will have a significant clearing of the treated veins. Women and men of any age may be good candidates for sclerotherapy, but most patients are 30 to 60 years of age.
Please contact us with any questions about cosmetic leg vein treatment.