Spider Vein FAQ

Spider Vein FAQ

There are many reasons why you should seek early treatment for spider veins.  Spider veins are of small caliber blood vessels that occur on the surface of the legs and thighs.  Some patients may also have spider veins around their nose and around the face, but leg spider veins are by far the most common reason for consultation in our Los Angeles Vein Center.  Spider veins are often small caliber red, blue, or purple blood vessels that appear on the surface of the skin and sometimes bulge above the level of the skin.  They are differentiated from varicose veins based on the caliber of the blood vessels.  Varicose veins are large bulging veins that occur on the legs and thighs, whereas spider veins are very thin blood vessels that are displaced on the legs and thighs.  Most patients will seek consultation for spider veins because of a cosmetic concern, but recent studies have shown that spider veins can often be an early warning sign for more serious varicose vein problems.  Spider veins may cause symptoms such as leg discomfort, tenderness, burning, itching, heaviness, night cramps, and restless legs.
Many options are available for spider vein treatment including laser vein removal and injection sclerotherapy.  The office of Dr. Raffy Karamanoukian specializes in varicose vein and spider vein treatments in the Los Angeles area.  We provide our patients with state of the art of treatment options for spider veins and larger varicose veins.  One of the most common treatments for spider veins is a treatment known as sclerotherapy, during which a small amount of medicine is injected into the unwanted vein to make it disappear permanently.  Sclerotherapy has many different options including highly concentrated salt water, hypertonic saline, glycerin, polidocanol, Ascelera, and foam sclerotherapy.  Injection sclerotherapy is usually an in office procedure that is used to eliminate veins without downtime and without extensive recovery.  The veins are allowed to collapse and the body eventually eliminates the entire vein within a span of a few weeks to months.  In the weeks following sclerotherapy, you may notice slight discoloration of the treated veins as they are slowly absorbed by the body.  Typically, one to three sessions are needed for the legs in order to eliminate small and large caliber spider and varicose veins in the legs.
Another option for spider vein treatment uses high energy lasers to effectively eliminate and destroy unwanted veins.  Targeted lasers can be used to heat up and destroy unwanted spider veins on the surface of the skin.  The treatment works very much like laser hair removal, but uses a different laser on the target blood vessels instead of hair follicles.  The laser can be directed on to the skin and small red spider veins are effectively coagulated and eliminated.  The long term outcome from spider vein laser treatment is good with the patients returning to normal activities within hours after their procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the difference between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?? The main differences between varicose veins and spider veins are the size of the veins, the origin of the veins, and the location of the veins relative to the skin. Typically, spider veins are small caliber vessels that lie very superficial to the skin, if not within the skin. The spider veins may originate from deeper underlying varicose veins or may arise within the confines of the skin. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are much larger and are usually confined to the layer immediately below the epidermis and dermis. The varicose veins may arise from deeper perforator veins or from the normal venous circulation. When the varicose veins dilate, or enlarge, the veins may become tortuous and may bulge through the skin.


Are there ways to prevent spider veins? There are many causes of spider veins.  These include sun exposure, genetics, hormones, thin or aging skin, and a condition known as venous insufficiency.  Venous insufficiency is a specific condition that can easily and painlessly be diagnosed in our Santa Monica office.  The other causes of spider veins, including genetics and hormones are rarely preventable.  However, if you have a family history of spider veins, there are several things that may help.  Avoid direct sun bathing or tanning, improve lower leg circulation by excercising regularly, take frequent breaks while standing or sitting for long periods of time, massage troublesome veins regularly using therapeutic vein creams for the legs.  In several European studies, the use of products containing aescin can contribute to improvement in varicose and spider veins.  This all-natural compound is contained in Omega Intensive Vein Complex cream, which is available in our Santa Monica office.


Can I receive treatments for spider veins while pregnant? Spider veins and varicose veins can often become worse during pregnancy.  After a thorough consultation is performed, a treatment plan is designed to minimize harm to the pregnant mother and child.  Most often, treatment is delayed until after pregnancy is over.  sclerotherapy. ??Is the treatment for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins the same??Yes and no. The most effective treatments address the underlying cause of the varicose or spider veins. The techniques available include laser ablation of small sized varicose and spider veins; injection sclerotherapy of spider veins; and endovenous ablation of the varicose veins using radiofrequency energy (VNUS Closure) or laser (EVLT).??Can spider veins be treated in the office??Spider veins can be effectively removed using a specialized laser designed to destroy superficial spider veins. The laser may take as little as a few minutes to perform. Our office usually will perform a spot treatment during the first consultation in order to determine the most appropriate laser settings for any individual spider vein. You can discuss these options with your physician during the office consultation.??Can I return to work after my spider vein treatments??Absolutely. We encourage everyone to return to work or school after their procedures.
Are there any professions that place one at risk for spider and varicose veins? Many of our patients are teachers, pharmacists, and secretaries.  These careers often involve sitting or standing for long periods of time without breaks.  This places excessive strain on the venous valves and predisposes to worsening spider or varicose veins.  If you spend long periods of time sitting or standing, make sure to take frequent breaks every 30 to 60 minutes.

Can spider veins be removed using the VNUS Closure technique or EVLT? The VNUS Closure procedure, Vein Stripping, or EVLT are performed to treat a condition known as venous insufficiency.  Patients with venous insufficiency may or may not have visible spider veins.  Although these procedures may treat venous insufficiency, small spider veins may still remain after the procedure.  Typically, our physicians prefer to wait several months after VNUS Closure or EVLT before we perform injection sclerotherapy or laser spider vein removal.
What is sclerotherapy? Sclerotherapy is an effective technique to remove spider veins. The spider veins are magnified using specialized lenses and a very small needle is inserted into the vein and injected with a high concentration of natural sterile saline (salt water). The high-concentration saline enters the spider vein and causes the spider vein to close. ??How many spider vein treatments will I need??During your initial consultation for spider veins, we will map out both legs and thighs and determine a treatment plan that will treat all of your symptomatic spider veins. Some spider veins may be tender and may require immediate treatment before those that are merely cosmetic. We encourage patients to become involved in the timing and treatment plan for their spider veins. Once an area is treated, there is still a chance that you will need additional treatments in adjacent areas.
What type of Spider Vein Treatments are offered in the Santa Monica office? We offer many different treatment programs to treat spider veins and varicose veins.  In our Santa Monica office, we employ a Gentle Yag laser for spider veins and facial telangiectasia.  For larger veins in the legs, we employ a micro-incision phlebectomy and injection sclerotherapy.
Can I perform Laser Hair Removal on my legs while receiving treatment for varicose and spider veins?  Are these procedures performed in Santa Monica? Yes.  In fact, many of our patients undergo laser hair removal and spider vein removal on their legs at the same time.  We employ a specialized laser that is equipped with a cooling spray to minimize pain during laser spider vein removal and laser hair removal.  The Gentle Yag laser provides an effective treatment to remove unsightly purple and blue spider veins on the legs and thighs.  The same laser system can also be used to target dark hair in the same area.  If you are concerned about either treatment, please call our Santa Monica office for a consultation for either procedure.


I only have small  spider veins.  Do I need an ultrasound? Many women have small, isolated spider veins without any visible varicose veins.  The exact incidence of spider veins is unknown, but is extremely high.  In these patients, there is no need to perform any diagnostic tests.  Spider vein treatment is performed using a special laser system for spider veins or injection sclerotherapy. Many patients choose our Santa Monica Vein practice because of our extensive array of diagnostic and therapeutic modalities for varicose vein care and spider care. Our office is one of only a few in the nation that specializes in EVLT, VNUS, Venafit, and Clarivein treatments.  If you need a diagnostic ultrasound to determine the source of your vein problems, Dr. Karamanoukian can perform diagnostic ultrasound deep within your veins.  This allows for non-invasive detection of venous insufficiency. 
How often should I apply the Omega Intensive Vein Complex cream to my legs? Omega Intensive Vein Complex is a rich moisturizing cream with potent botanicals to support and optimize the venous circulation.  The cream contains Arnica montana, Horse Chestnut extract, and specialized enzymes to strengthen and support proper vein health.  In multiple clinical studies in Europe and North America, these all-natural extracts have been shown to improve the symptoms of varicose and spider veins.  Use the cream liberally on the legs and thighs twice daily and massage into the area.
What are the costs for spider vein removal and treatment in the Santa Monica office?  Many of our patients are pleasantly surprised at how affordable laser and injection treatments are for the legs.  Patients should understand that the pricing depends on the severity of spider veins on the legs and this varies significantly from person to person.  Some patients may come in with a single spider vein that is the length and size of a human hair while others may have significant purple discoloration of their whole ankle and foot.  We invite you in for a consultation to our Santa Monica office to discuss your individual treatment plan.
VNUS Closure Procedure. EVLT Varicose Veins. Sclerotherapy. Microphlebectomy. Varicose Vein Stripping. Varicose Vein Surgery. Laser Spider Vein Removal. Telangiectasia Removal.

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