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What can I do About Spider Veins?

 

Charles Raker, MD, is an interventional radiologist at Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center.

Question: The veins in my legs make me happy it is winter and I can cover them up. What causes varicose and spider veins? Are they treatable?

Answer: You can probably blame your family genetics for the veins in your legs. It is the most common reason you develop those bluish veins in your legs. However, pregnancy, obesity, standing for long periods of time and soaking in hot water could make the condition worse. Crossing your legs is less likely to be a factor. Both men and women experience this common problem.

People choose to treat veins in their legs for a variety of reasons - from pain and swelling to cosmetic reasons. Depending on the individual case, veins may be treated through one of two means. First, sclerotherapy is a traditional but effective method that involves injections of a solution, using very fine needles, to close off problematic veins. In other cases, interventional radiologists may choose to use a newer radiofrequency ablation therapy that is particularly effective for rope-like, painful varicose veins.

At times, ultrasound may be recommended for help in diagnosis of reflux, or pooling of blood, in the veins. In all cases, pressure stockings are recommended for a few weeks following treatment for the best possible result (for this reason, winter is a great time to seek treatment).

When medical issues are identified, insurance often covers the cost of this procedure. Typically both legs can be treated in the same visit. Treatment time is about one hour, pain is minimal and most can return to work the same day or the next day.

Page Last Modified: 02/22/2010
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