Are you unsure if the veins appearing on your skin are spider veins or varicose veins? How can you tell the difference between spider veins vs varicose veins? While both veins have an undesirable appearance, they are different and require different treatments to reduce their appearance and prevent further complications. If you are suffering from any vein condition, it should be evaluated at Coastal Vein Care in Corona Del Mar, CA.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins may appear on the face, legs, and chest. They are tiny twisted cords of red, blue, or purple blood vessels bulging from the skin. Often spider veins are only superficial, but they could be evidence of an underlying condition. Spider veins may be itchy and can cause a burning sensation in some sufferers.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Spider veins appear due to various conditions but are often caused by the weakening of one-way valves under the force of gravity that causes a build-up of blood. The excess blood is what causes the bulging appearance of spider veins on the skin.
Patients who are at risk of suffering from spider veins often have careers where they must sit or stand for long periods. Nurses and truck drivers often suffer from this condition due to their career, but spider veins may also come from a sedentary lifestyle. Sun damage, hormonal changes, constipation, and tumors can also play a part in the appearance of spider veins.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins appear most frequently in the legs. They may be red, blue, or purple but can also blend in with the skin. The most distinct feature of varicose veins is that they appear like large cords clinging to the skin. Along with the appearance of varicose veins, they can come with a host of conditions and can be painful and throbbing at times. They may also cause the sufferer’s legs to ache and swell, especially after sitting or standing for some time.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins appear most often in older women, specifically older Caucasian women. The condition can be hereditary but commonly accompanies obesity and a sedentary lifestyle. The appearance of the veins comes from the build-up of blood due to improper circulation. Working professionals who spend much of the day standing are also at risk of developing varicose veins. Teachers, nurses, and hairstylists have careers that may increase the risk of varicose veins.
Spider Veins vs Varicose Veins: What is the Difference?
Spider veins and varicose veins are both vascular conditions that indicate poor circulation. The appearance of spider veins or varicose veins may not seem different at first. The colors of the veins are mostly the same, but varicose veins may be skin-colored. Varicose veins will have a larger and more defined appearance on the surface of the skin.
The causes of both veins are also similar, but varicose veins are found most often on the legs. Spider veins may appear more commonly on the face and chest. Both veins can be accompanied by pain, but throbbing pain and swelling may come with varicose veins.
Which Condition is More Dangerous?
Though spider veins may be uncomfortable, they are mostly a superficial condition. A doctor may evaluate the vascular condition to find the cause and treat it or simply treat the appearance of the veins. Varicose veins can lead to dangerous conditions if left untreated. In terms of health risks in untreated spider veins vs varicose veins, varicose veins are much riskier.
Varicose veins should be treated to restore proper blood circulation and prevent further health conditions. Untreated varicose veins can lead to painful sores and ulcers, inflammation, bleeding, superficial thrombophlebitis, blood clots, and restless leg syndrome. Varicose veins can even cause deep vein thrombosis, a critical condition. If you are suffering from varicose veins or spider veins, you should seek a medical evaluation and treatment.
Spider veins and varicose veins can be evaluated and treated at our Corona Del Mar location. Our office serves the Newport Beach community with vein treatments. Most vein conditions are treated by closing off the affected vein by irritating the wall with a substance or energy.
The closed vein will not carry blood, and the surrounding veins will carry the remaining blood to improve circulation. We use different techniques to treat the vein based on the condition. Recovery from the treatment may require the use of a compression stocking or dressing.
Treatments for Spider Veins
Used since the 1930s, sclerotherapy is a treatment for spider veins that is still used effectively today. The treatment can be completed in less than 30 minutes, and the vein appearance fades. An injection containing a salt solution is administered in the offending vein by a doctor. The solution irritates the vein and causes it to close.
The vein collapses and is eventually absorbed into the body. The treated vein no longer carries blood, but the remaining veins normalize the circulation. After sclerotherapy, patients should avoid hot water bathing or showering and avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications.
RFA Vein Closure
Radio-frequency ablation, or RFA vein closure, is a treatment that uses radio-frequency energy to treat spider veins. The RFA device is used to heat the spider veins, damaging the veins and collapsing the vein wall. Scar tissue forms around the damaged vein that fades over time, along with the vein.
The treatment is minimally invasive and will require a small incision where the RFA device is inserted. Surrounding veins will carry the remaining blood and improve circulation in the treated area. The incision is finally bandaged and a compression dressing applied.
Treatments for Varicose Veins
VenaSeal Vein Closure
Varicose veins can be treated with VenaSeal vein closure. The treatment is safe and revolutionary, requiring no tumescent anesthesia and requiring no downtime. A small incision is made in the varicose vein and a VenaSeal proprietary adhesive is inserted into the vein by a small tube. The tube is then removed and the treatment area is compressed to ensure the bond of the adhesive.
The vein is closed permanently and collapses after some time. The collapsed varicose vein and the adhesive fade into the body as they are absorbed naturally. VenaSeal is so effective that many patients experience immediate benefits from the treatment. Patients can return to their normal activities immediately and feel no discomfort during the treatment.
Much like spider veins, varicose veins can also be treated through sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is popular for the treatment of leg veins like varicose veins and provides quick results and recovery. The treatment is similar in that the salt solution is injected, and the vein collapses. The cord-like and bulging appearance of the varicose veins will fade with time as the vein no longer carries blood.
Laser Vein Closure
Endovenous laser ablation is a common, minimally invasive treatment method for performing laser vein closure in varicose veins. The treatment is performed without anesthesia using the placement of an IV catheter into the varicose vein. The catheter is guided by ultrasound, and when the proper location is found, a laser fiber is inserted through the catheter into the vein.
When the laser fiber is placed, tumescent anesthesia is administered to the varicose vein that will be treated. While the laser fiber applies heat to the vein, it is slowly removed from the vein through the catheter.
After the laser is removed a cotton wrap and stocking are used to wrap the treated area. The vein is permanently closed, and the appearance is reduced over time as the vein is absorbed into the body. Nearby veins will carry the remaining blood to ensure circulation. Patients will recover quickly from the comfort of their homes.
RFA Vein Closure
Varicose veins can be treated with RFA vein closure like spider veins. Recovery after the RFA treatment is short, and the appearance of the varicose veins will fade quickly. Patients can walk immediately after the procedure and the procedure may cause less discomfort than some laser treatments. This is a major benefit because varicose veins often occur in the legs.
Now that you know the differences between spider veins vs varicose veins, you should have an evaluation so you can be treated quickly. Visit Coastal Vein Care in Corona Del Mar, CA for an initial consultation today.