Varicose veins and spider veins
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-colored often found on the thighs, backs of the calves, or the inside of the leg. They often look like cords and appear twisted and bulging appearing swollen and raised above the surface of the skin.
Spider veins are like varicose veins but smaller and are closer to the surface of the skin. They are red or blue and can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short, jagged lines. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face and can cover either a very small or very large area of skin.
Weak or damaged valves in the veins can cause varicose veins. The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body through the arteries. Veins then carry the blood from the body back to the heart. As the leg muscles squeeze, they push blood back to the heart from the lower body against the flow of gravity. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs. If the valves become weak, blood can leak back into the veins and collect there. When backed-up blood makes the veins bigger, they can become varicose.
Varicose veins can often be seen on the skin. Some other common symptoms of varicose veins in the legs include:
- Aching pain that may get worse after sitting or standing for a long time
- Throbbing or cramping
- Rash that’s itchy or irritated
- Darkening of the skin (in severe cases)
- Restless legs
What is Sclerotherapy used for?
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for both spider veins and varicose veins. The dermatologist uses a needle to inject a liquid chemical into the vein. The chemical causes the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut. This stops the flow of blood, and the vein turns into scar tissue. In a few weeks, the vein should fade. The patient can return to normal activity right after treatment. This treatment does not require anesthesia and can be done in a dermatologist’s office. Contact our Dallas Dermatology office to set up a consultation and assessment of treatment for varicose veins.