Varicose Veins & Spider Veins

Leg veins have one-way valves — tiny flaps of tissue that keep blood flowing in a single direction.  When these valves become weak or fail, the pressure in the veins increase and they enlarge (become varicose veins). The venous insufficiency that develops, produces symptoms that affect  your quality of life.

Signs and Symptoms of Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Varicose veins generally appear as bulging blue veins close to the skin’s surface, on the back of the calf, inside the thigh, or in the area of the groin.  Pooling blood can cause clotting, pain, swelling, heaviness, cramps, changes in the skin, and sometimes skin ulcers (open wounds).

Spider veins appear as small red, purple, or blue lines like “spiders'” that are within the skin’s surface. They rarely cause symptoms and will not develop into varicose veins.  Most people seek treatment for cosmetic reasons.

Risk Factors

  • Family history or genetics: If one parent has varicose veins, your chance of having varicose veins is 35%.  If both parents have this condition, your chances increase to 95%.
  • Pressure on the legs from excess weight
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Increasing age
  • Gender: Females are at higher risk than males
  • Hormonal changes: Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy increases the risk for varicose veins
  • Multiple pregnancies

Treatment of Varicose Veins

Your Englewood Health vascular specialist are experts in minimally invasive and open surgery as well as non-surgical options for the treatment of all forms of vein disease.

Lifestyle Changes

Simple lifestyle changes including wearing compression stockings, elevating one’s feet when sitting, trying to reduce standing time, and losing weight are often effective methods for managing the symptoms of varicose and spider vein disease.

Minimally Invasive Treatment for Varicose Veins

While lifestyle changes can manage symptoms, they do not address the underlying cause of varicose veins disease.  Most of our patients prefer a permanent solution.  In most cases, we can treat varicose veins with minimally invasive surgical techniques that require only a few needle sticks, and no incisions or stitches.  Patients return to normal activities in 1-2 days, and most procedures are covered by insurance.

In 85-90% of cases, veins that are seen and the symptoms patients have are due to abnormal veins below the surface.  Ultrasound best identifies the veins that are the source of the problem, and our specialists direct treatment to these problem veins.

You can trust Englewood Health’s vein specialists to provide the latest in minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins.  In fact, Englewood Health’s vascular specialists have been the first — or one of the first — in the world to use the various minimally invasive techniques widely used today.

Minimally invasive options we offer include:

  • Radiofrequency ablation: This method uses heat energy to close damaged veins. It effectively remove the appearance of varicose veins and also relieve swelling, aching, and inflammation.
  • Mechanochemical ablation (MOCA):  The latest in varicose vein treatment, a special rotating catheter degrades the vein and is also used to inject a medication to close down the vein.  This method is offers less discomfort and faster healing.
  • Cyanoacrylate closure: A type of medical glue is injected to seal off the damaged vein.
  • Endovenous laser therapy:  A thin fiber is guided into the damaged vein.  The fiber gives off a laser beam which causes the vein to seal shut. The abnormal appearance of the veins disappears gradually in the year after the procedure.
  • Foam sclerotherapy: A foam is created by mixing air with the solution used for traditional sclerotherapy.  The foam makes better contact with the vein and is less diluted by blood in the vein than if a liquid is used.
  • Liquid Sclerotherapy: Spider veins and other damaged veins are destroyed by injecting a solution directly into the vein.
  • Microphlebectomy: Done as an outpatient procedure, the diseased part of a vein is removed through tiny incisions with minimal discomfort — either during or after the procedure.
  • Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy: Using a special light to see the veins, a second device is used to remove the diseased veins, similar to liposuction.

All of the techniques listed above are covered by most insurance plans for patients with symptoms.  At Englewood Health vascular care, one size does NOT fit all; our vein specialists will discuss options with you to determine which treatment is best for your unique situation.

Learn more about the Center for Vein Disease.