Spider Veins VS. Varicose Veins
“What’s The Difference Between Spider Veins And Varicose Veins?“
Spider veins and varicose veins are both symptoms of venous insufficiency, vein disease that cannot push blood normally up the legs towards the heart. The veins become swollen because blood that should circulate pools in place.
Spider veins are thin surface veins that turn blue or red because of reflux. Spider veins are considered a cosmetic problem, rarely causing discomfort. They can be treated easily. Click here to learn how we can treat spider veins in St. Louis, MO.
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Varicose veins are larger than spider veins and are more serious manifestations of venous reflux, presenting medical issues. These can rise and seem knobby or tangled. Varicose veins are frequently accompanied by symptoms like pain, aching, burning, restlessness, muscle cramps and tiredness. If not treated, they progress to leg ulcers, blood clots and other health-endangering conditions.
What Is The Difference Between Cosmetic Surgery And Medical Necessity?
Physicians have been debating the treatment of varicose veins for well over two thousand years – the legendary Hippocrates wrote about them in the fifth century BC – but today both medical necessity and health insurance are major factors in determining the course of treatment for the condition.
When varicose or spider veins are treated just to look better, it is considered cosmetic surgery and isn’t covered by health insurance or Medicare.
If, however, the veins cause symptoms like pain, swelling, fatigue or other symptoms that interfere with normal life, or if there are skin ulcers or blood clots, treatment to restore well-being is therefore considered a medical necessity. Under these circumstances, most health insurance and Medicare plans will cover the procedure. We are the only provider in the area credentialed with all major insurers, which makes us the preferred choice for vein treatment in St. Louis.
On the face, IPL can treat spider veins. The Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) actually targets the hemoglobin that is found in the red blood cell as it crosses the veins. The light is absorbed by this compound which then is converted to heat. The heat actually shrinks the capillaries. The overall treatment is quite effective and safe. Multiple treatments are required.
Yes, spider veins can cause symptoms including swelling and a feeling of heaviness in the legs. Despite their small size, a large number of spider veins can contribute to Venous Insufficiency. In my opinion, sclerotherapy is clearly the treatment of choice for spider veins of the legs.
Spider veins usually take on one of three forms. The appearance of spider veins include: a spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a central point, tree branch pattern, and thin separate lines which are sometimes called thread veins.
Intense light lasers are used directly to the veins, eliminating them permanently. Bruising can occur in the area treated and last for a few weeks. It can take up to four or five treatments to eliminate the spider veins. The laser treatment rarely can some increased or decrease in the skin pigment around the treated area.The cost of laser treatment is higher than treating the veins with Sclerotherapy.
Ultrasound guided sclerofoam is a procedure done to eliminate the so called tributary branches and peforators. Occasionally is used to eliminate some of the superficial “large” varicosities. The equipment used is an ultrasound machine. These veins are for the most part located at least 0.5-1 cm below the skin level.Spider veins are superficial and no ultrasound aid is needed. No ultrasound guided procedure is done for the facial spider veins.
Spider veins do not lead to skin cancer. Spider veins are one sign of venous insufficiency.Venous insufficiency can lead to leg ulcers, however spider veins themselves do not turn into leg ulcers.
Spider veins are like varicose veins but smaller. Spider veins begin as tiny capillaries and appear as blue or red squiggles. They are small red, blue, or purple veins that commonly appear on the surface of the thighs, calves and ankles. 1/3of the adult female population is troubled with this common problem. They are associated with “feeder” veins and can also be associated with the larger underlying varicose veins. The medical term for spider veins is telangiectasia.
Common symptoms include: aching, heaviness, itching, and night cramps.
Sclerotherapy remains the gold standard of treatment for spider veins.No, each vein does not have to be injected. You should be seen by an experienced vein center who can discuss with you the various options, and what works best. Sclerotherapy is the most effective treatment for almost all of the veins you can see on your legs, from the bigger ropey veins to tiny purple veins that seem stuck on the top of the skin. Sometimes the very smallest spider veins that look like fine red threads stuck on the leg can be treated by the veinwave or light therapy treatments.
These may be what are commonly referred to as reticular veins. While they may be normal in patients with thin skin, they may also be due to increased venous back pressure causing them to become more prominent. The best thing to do is to see a Phlebologist a vein specialist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease.
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