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Spider veins and varicose veins are a common problem in men and women. Varicose veins are the veins you see bulging in a person's leg. They are typically blue or purple in color and may cause a person discomfort or pain. Spider veins resemble varicose veins, however, they are smaller in size and do not bulge or stick out of the skin. They vary in color from red to blue to purple and can cause aching or itching in the skin.
There are several things a person can do to prevent spider veins and varicose veins. When methods of prevention do not help and the veins are causing pain and discomfort, various methods of vein surgery are available. Compression stockings are usually the first thing that a doctor would recommend a person use before undergoing vein surgery. People who wear compression stockings are those who are on their feet most of the day. These stockings help to relieve the pressure imposed on the veins and reduce symptoms but are not a permanent solution.
Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a solution directly into the veins using a very fine needle. The solution stops all blood flow through the vein and turns the vein white. This is considered cosmetic surgery and is not covered by medical insurance.
Another type of vein surgery, called ambulatory phlebectomy, creates an extremely small incision in the skin by the vein. A hook is then inserted through the tiny incision and is used to remove the vein. A bandage is worn for about two weeks to compress the skin and help with healing.
Laser surgery is often performed when the vein is too small to inject or remove. Light energy is sent into the vein in short bursts, slowly shriveling the vein. The vein then disappears over a small period of time. Laser surgery is very accurate and usually safe for all skin types.
One particular vein surgery that can be done inside the doctor's office and usually has a person back to their normal daily activities within one day is called endovenous laser therapy (EVLT). This process involves inserting a tiny laser fiber into the vein where it closes the vein by sending pulsating lasers through it. This treatment is sometimes used in conjunction with other vein surgeries.
The VNUS® Closure, also known as radio frequency vein ablation, is an alternative treatment that can be performed on an outpatient basis. When a patient undergoes this procedures, an ultrasound shows the doctor where to place a catheter inside the vein. Once the catheter is inside the vein, radio frequencies are used to heat the vein and shrink the walls, thus closing the vein. The blood is then rerouted through other healthy veins.