Illustration 1: Spider veins on the leg usually appear in one of three patterns: (a) simple linear (b) arborizing, which appear branch-like, and (c) spider, which appear as a cartwheel shape with a dark center point.
Illustration 2: Before treatment spider veins are quite noticeable, contrasting sharply with the surrounding skin.
Illustration 3: The skin is held taut while the injection of sclerosing solution is administered under bright light and magnification.
Illustration 4: One month after the first treatment, spider veins are distinctly lighter, yet still somewhat visible.
Illustration 5: After two or more treatments, the leg appears noticeably clearer and more attractive.
Whenever you slip into a dress or swimsuit, your legs become part of your total appearance. If you sometimes avoid showing your legs because you have spider veins - those small clusters of red, blue or purple veins that appear on the thighs, calves and ankles - you are not alone. It's estimated that at least half of the adult female population is bothered by this common cosmetic problem. Spider veins may also appear on the face, where they can make an otherwise good complexion appear blotchy or uneven.
If you would like to eliminate your spider veins and improve your appearance, Dr. Jensen can help. Today there are very effective, safe and relatively painless methods available for eradicating spider veins on the legs and face.
The legs may be treated with sclerotherapy, a procedure in which the veins are injected with a sclerosing solution, causing them to collapse and fade from view. Or, Dr. Jensen may prefer to use laser treatments, in which an intense beam of light is passed over the leg veins. In some cases, these treatments can also remedy the painful symptoms associated with leg veins, including aching, burning, swelling and night cramps. Spider veins on the face - which are really not veins at all, but blood vessel malformations - are usually treated with laser therapy or with hyfercation, in which the vessels are cauterized.
The best way to get complete answers to specific questions that relate to your needs is to schedule have a complimentary consultation with Dr. Jensen.
Is spider vein treatment right for me?
Women of any age may be good candidates for vein treatment. In some women, spider veins become noticeable in their early 20's. For others, the veins may not become obvious until they reach their 40's. Men get spider veins, too. However, usually they are concealed by hair growth on the leg.
A number of factors may contribute to the development of spider veins in the legs, including heredity, pregnancy, hormonal shifts, weight gain and occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing. Spider veins in the face may be hereditary, or may be caused by sun exposure or the use of certain medications.
Any of the following types of conditions generally make you a good candidate for vein treatment:
Your may wish to reconsider having vein treatment if any of the following applies to you:
What should I expect from the consultation?
A personal consultation is the first step for every patient considering spider vein treatment. During this meeting, Dr. Jensen will assess your physical health and discuss your specific cosmetic goals for the procedure.
You should arrive at the consultation prepared to provide complete information about:
If leg veins are the problem, Dr. Jensen will examine you for signs of more serious "deep vein" problems, as well as for larger, varicose veins. These conditions are often identified by swelling, sores or skin changes at the ankle. A hand-held ultrasound device is sometimes used to detect any backflow within the venous system. If problems are identified, Dr. Jensen may refer you to a different specialist for further evaluation and possible treatment.
What can I do to prepare for the procedure?
When the date for your procedure has been set, Dr. Jensen will provide you with specific instructions for the days immediately before and after the procedure. A number of points may be covered, including:
Most patients who are having their legs treated wear or bring a long skirt or slacks to the office so that their legs can be covered after the procedure.
How are spider veins in the legs treated?
On common method of treating spider veins in the legs and ankles is with sclerotherapy. In this treatment, sclerosing solution is injected into each affected vein, causing the vein to collapse and fade from view. Although every patient is different, you can generally expect to receive one injection for every inch of spider vein that is treated. Bright light and magnification may be used to endure maximum precision. A cotton ball and compression tape is applied to each injection site as it is finished. Sclerotherapy requires no anesthesia and may be preformed in an outpatient setting. Two or more sessions, each lasting less than an hour, are usually required to obtain optimal results.
Leg veins may also be treated with a laser. In this method, an intense beam of light is directed at the spider vein, which obliterates it through the skin. Typically, two or more sessions are needed to obtain the desired results. Sometimes, laser therapy is used in combination with sclerotherapy.
After your treatment, you may be instructed to wear support hose to help your legs heal. You may feel some cramping in your legs for the first day or two after treatment. This discomfort is temporary and usually doesn't require medication. Every patient heals different rate. However, you van expect that your recovery will follow this general time line:
How are spider veins in the face treated?
Spider veins in the face are actually blood vessel malformations. They may appear linear, as a starburst shape or as diffuse, blotchy red patches. Because they are different than spider veins in the leg, they may be treated differently.
One method for treating spider veins in the face is hyfercation. This treatment involves the use of a thin cautery needle that is heated by an electric current. When the needle is touched to the vein, the vein is quickly obliterated. Hyfercation typically requires no anesthesia and may be performed in an outpatient setting. Two or ore sessions may be required to achieve the desired results.
Because of its extreme precision, laser therapy is sometimes the preferred method of treating spider veins in the face. The beam of light is directed at the blood vessel and it is obliterated through the skin. Typically, two or more sessions are needed to achieve the best results.
You should be aware that for the first week or two after your treatment, it may be difficult to hide your condition. Although everyone heals at a different pace, you can expect that your recovery will follow this general time line:
What should I know about my results?
After about a month of healing, you may get ready for a second vein treatment. With each treatment, you will notice further improvement of your skin's appearance.
If you're like most patients, you'll be very pleased with your results. In general, you can expect your skin to appear clearer, more healthy-looking. If you've been wearing longer skirts, pants or opaque stockings to hide your leg veins, you will be able to broaden your fashion horizons.
You should understand that your treatment will not prevent new spider veins from surfacing in the future. As time passes, you may find that you need further treatments to take care of any new veins that may emerge.
How long will I continue to see Dr. Jensen?
You will return to Dr. Jensen's office for a post-treatment follow-up visit so that your healing and progress can be evaluated. After that, you will return to Dr. Jensen's office at one-month intervals until you achieve the results you desire.