Varicose veins are large blue, dark purple veins. They protrude from the skin and many times they have a cord-like appearance and may twist or bulge. Varicose veins are found most frequently on the legs.
Spider veins are very small and very fine red or blue veins. They are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like a thin red line, tree branches or spider webs. Spider veins can be found on the legs and face and may cover a small or large area.
Reticular veins can also be known as feeder veins. They are the blue and green veins beneath the surface of the skin.
A number of factors may contribute to the development of spider veins in the legs, including:
Sclerotherapy is a treatment for removing spider and some smaller varicose leg veins. It involves injecting a special chemical solution into the veins in order to close the veins and caused it to disappear. The work of carrying the blood is shifted to other healthy blood vessels nearby. With sclerotherapy, most patients can expect a 60% improvement in the appearance of their legs vein. Approximately 10% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy have poor to fair results.
Usually more than one treatment is required to remove these veins. The number of treatments depends on the extents and the severity of the veins. On average, 2 to 3 treatments treatment spaced 6-8 weeks apart are usually required to effectively treat these veins. The same area should not be retreated for four to six weeks to allow for complete healing, although other areas may undergo treatment during this time.
Although sclerotherapy works for existing spider veins, it does not prevent new ones from developing. Most patients report few, if any minor side effects, which usually disappear in time. Temporary reactions can include a slight swelling of the leg or foot, minor bruising, itching, redness, pigmentation and moderate soreness.
Post treatment care includes wearing bandages and compression stockings for 2 to 7 days following treatment. These stockings help by improving the upward flow of blood in the leg veins. They should be worn during the day and removed at night. Avoiding exercise may also help to minimize the risk of opening up the closed veins.
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