Many people consider spider and varicose veins nothing more than a cosmetic issue that they hide with long pants. However, in many cases, varicose veins require treatment in order to avoid possible complications. While the best time for vein treatment depends on a variety of factors, and the focus is the severity of your varicose veins and your risk of complications.
What Are Spider and Varicose Veins?
Spider and varicose veins both occur because of improperly working valves within the veins. Spider veins are the smaller veins closer to your skin and typically appear as red or blue and web-like on your legs. Spider veins are typically more of a cosmetic concern and do not cause symptoms. In contrast, varicose veins are the larger, often bulging veins that stick out above your skin and can cause a variety of symptoms including pain, itching, swelling, heaviness in the legs and skin ulcers.
Spider and varicose veins are common, especially in women. While they can occur anywhere, they are most commonly found on the legs. Common causes include pregnancy, obesity, menopause, aging, leg injuries, prolonged sitting and heredity.
Possible Complications If Left Untreated
If varicose veins continue to progress and go untreated, they can lead to a condition known as Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). When this occurs, you develop symptoms such as swelling in the legs and ankles, leg tiredness, leathery-looking skin, flaking or itching skin, as well as skin ulcers. When this occurs, immediate treatment is necessary to avoid any further complications, such as infections or cellulitis.
Cooler Months Are Usually Better for Treatment
If your varicose or spider veins are not causing symptoms, you have a bit more time to consider treatment. In this case, the cooler months are often your best choice. This is for a variety of reasons. First, compression stockings. Compression stockings are often required for a few weeks after treatment. Wearing stockings during the warmer months is often uncomfortable, but they can be a welcome layer of insulation during the cold winter months.
As the sun tends to shine less during the winter months, the UV rays are also reduced. With some treatment options, UV exposure must be avoided after treatment, so this makes it much easier. And by having treatment in the winter, your legs will be ready to sport shorts and hit the beach by the time summer hits.
What Are the Treatment Options?
The treatment you need will depend on whether you have spider or varicose veins and the severity of those veins. Treatment options include:
- Sclerotherapy. This is a treatment option for spider veins and occasionally minor varicose veins. This treatment involves the injection of a solution directly into the vein. This solution irritates the vein, causing them to shrink and blood to clot. Compression stockings are worn after treatment and the veins should eventually fade and disappear.
- Endovenous Thermal Ablation. This treatment inserts a thin catheter into the vein and uses radiofrequency energy to heat the vein closed. The blood that normally flows through the vein will find another vein to travel through. With time, the closed vein will shrink, and the body will absorb it.
- VenaSeal™️. VenaSeal is an advanced technology that uses a medical adhesive to close the broken vein. This treatment requires less injections and reduces the risk of possible nerve injury associated with heating procedures.
- Microambulatory Phlebectomy. This is a procedure that occurs only if the closed veins do not disappear after treatments. This minor surgery removes the vein through a small incision and a specialized hook. The incision is typically closed with steri-strips and does not require sutures.
When it comes to the best timing for varicose and spider vein treatment, the answer is what is best for you. Depending on the severity of your veins, you may opt to have treatment sooner rather than later. As most procedures have little downtime, scheduling treatment often doesn’t interfere with daily activities, leaving the window for treatment a little more open.
At The Vein Company, we specialize in treating patients with varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein diseases. With locations in Tennessee, our patients can expect high quality, personalized care at every step. We make sure to explain all of your options and address all of your questions and concerns.