Dr. Susan Fox, DO, RPVI, FSVM
Fox Vein & Laser Experts
Many people say veins are just cosmetic. Spider veins are often cosmetic but even those tiny red swirls on one’s skin can cause symptoms. Over 50 percent of people with spider veins have symptoms ranging from itching, burning and aching to a feeling of ants crawling on their skin.
Varicose veins are larger veins and usually cause more significant symptoms. Varices are commonly due to valves in the veins not working correctly and instead of all of the blood going up towards the heart, some of it drips back down towards the feet. This is called venous insufficiency and leads to increased pressure inside the veins and bulging and ropey veins. People with varicose veins or venous insufficiency, often have heaviness, aching, pain and swelling in their legs. Over time, their ankles become more and more swollen and discolored and they can develop skin changes such as venous eczema and stasis dermatitis. The skin in their ankles may start to appear darker and get scaly, red, itchy and blotchy. This may lead to the development of open sores or ulcers.
For spider veins, the best treatment is still sclerotherapy where the veins are injected with a solution that inflames the vein lining and causes them to close shut. Spider veins can also be treated with lasers or radiofrequency devices. For varicose veins, there used to be only vein stripping. For the past 20 years, newer and less invasive procedures have become the standard of care in treating varicose veins and venous insufficiency. The source of the problem can be treated with lasers, radiofrequency devices, a type of glue, foam or liquid in combination with irritating devices to close these larger more problematic veins. Usually insurance covers the treatments of symptomatic veins. Talk to your physician if you have varicose or spider veins.