Spider Vein Therapy
Dr. Brian Heeringa and his team at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists explain that spider veins are those small red, purple, and blue blood vessels that show themselves on the legs, chest, and face.
They aren’t overly painful, but their unwelcome appearance, particularly on the face and legs, can make a person avoid wearing shorts or a swimsuit, and with all the water around us in Northern Michigan that’s almost a crime! Fortunately, the team at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists in Traverse City and Cadillac, MI can make those unwanted, squiggly veins go away.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are small clusters of tiny veins just below the surface of the skin, showing through on the surface as red, purple, or dark blue. They may look like fine lines, starburst clusters, or a web-like maze.
They are more common in women, especially of childbearing age and older. You’ll usually find them on the thighs, ankles, and calves, but they will also develop on the face.
What Causes Spider Veins?
It’s not entirely understood why some people get spider veins while others do not. Generally, varicose veins and spider veins are caused when the valves that stop blood from reversing its flow are either weak or don’t function. In other cases, weaknesses in the vein walls may allow blood to pool rather than squeezing it through as healthy veins do.
Below are a few causes of spider veins:
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Hormone fluctuations during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
- Sun exposure
- Tight clothing around the abdomen
- Occupations that require extended periods of standing
Is Sclerotherapy Painful?
No. Sclerotherapy and VeinGogh treatments (see below) at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists are easy, safe procedures that instantly improve the appearance of your unwanted spider veins. Sclerotherapy has been around since the 1930s and is very effective and safe. VeinGogh is new, but is a safe option for very small spider veins.
Does Insurance Cover Spider Vein Treatment?
Varicose vein treatment is usually covered by insurance, as their removal is usually for medical/safety reasons. Spider veins are usually seen as cosmetic nuisances, and their removal is usually not covered by insurance. Check with your insurance provider prior to treatment to be sure.
Spider Vein Treatment FAQs
Spider veins are primarily a cosmetic concern, but they can make a woman self-conscious about her legs when in shorts or a swimsuit. At Northern Michigan Vein Specialists we use sclerotherapy to remove spider veins.
In sclerotherapy, we use a very small needle to inject a sclerosing solution, into the targeted area. This sounds painful, but the needle is so tiny that patients equate the feeling to that of a mosquito bite. The sclerosing solution irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to swell and the blood within it to clot. Once the vein has closed itself off it turns into scar tissue and the body eventually absorbs it. The procedure is fast and easy, but usually, requires two to four treatments to remove the veins you want to target.
Since spider veins are thought to be caused mainly by a combination of genetics, hormonal changes, and sun exposure, many of the preventive measures that can help with varicose veins don’t really work with spider veins. For instance, standing for long periods of time or crossing your legs when sitting can contribute to varicose veins, and maybe spider veins. But how can they then show up on your face? The same can be said of wearing compression stockings, exercise, and wearing tight clothing. While all of those actions are helpful for varicose veins, the jury is out on their effect preventing spider veins.
While sclerotherapy will likely get rid of your current batch of spider veins, that’s not to say you will not develop new ones down the road. After all, the genetics or hormonal changes that caused them will likely still be present.
Spider veins are usually harmless and asymptomatic but rarely patients may report that clusters of spider veins causing pain. Swelling and pain are typically the domain of larger varicose veins. For the vast majority of people, spider veins are simply visually unappealing.
The best time to address your spider veins is during a Northern Michigan winter. That way your legs will be spider vein-free come our great spring and summer weather. Plus, we usually recommend our patients wear compression hose for a week or two after their procedure, and these will be less conspicuous under winter clothing.
VeinGogh is relatively new alternative method for treating smaller spider veins. It uses microburst technology to deliver controlled heat energy directly into the targeted vein. This heat damages the vein wall, just as the sclerosant agent does in sclerotherapy, causing it to collapse and close off. You will see an immediate, dramatic improvement in the visibility of the targeted spider veins. They will continue to improve over the next weeks as the veins are absorbed by the body.
VeinGogh uses a small stylus that is similar in size to a pencil. The stylus has a hair-like fiber that is inserted just beneath the surface of the skin and into the targeted vein. Once Dr. Heeringa has positioned the VeinGogh stylus, it delivers a microburst of heat energy down into the vein. This damages the vein wall and collapses the vein.
VeinGogh is excellent for smaller spider veins, particularly for spider veins of the face and nose. The procedure takes just a few minutes and numerous veins can be treated.
We use VeinGogh for patients with very small spider veins and thread-like telangiectasias that would be more difficult to accurately address with sclerotherapy or laser ablation.
Most VeinGogh sessions at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists take 20-30 minutes depending on the number and extent of veins treated.
Since the procedure uses a hair-thin probe inserted through the surface skin into the vessel, patients may feel a slight pinch. The sensation is similar to a hair being pulled.
You will see an immediate dramatic improvement in the visibility of the targeted spider veins. They will continue to improve over the next weeks as the veins are absorbed by the body.
Schedule a consultation today!
We proudly serve patients from Traverse City, Cadillac, Manistee, Big Rapids, Houghton Lake, Grayling, Sault Ste. Marie MI and surrounding areas with advanced spider vein treatments. Call today for your consultation at (231) 936-2068 or complete a Contact Form here! You can also find directions to our Traverse City and Cadillac, MI offices by clicking here. We look forward to serving you!