Q. I have these little red veins and sometimes they appear dark blue on my legs. I also have some around my nose. Is there anything I can do about them and what do you think causes these to appear?
A. You probably have spider veins and probably some reticular veins as well. Spider veins are very small and fine red or blue veins that are close to the surface. They can be found on the legs and face and may cover large or small areas. Reticular veins are feeder veins. Feeder veins are generally larger and they are the vessels that give the blood supply to the spider veins.
Before undergoing treatment, patients should undergo an evaluation to determine that there is no underlying or dangerous cause for their appearance. While spider veins and reticular veins are cosmetic in nature, they may be a sign of underlying venous insufficiency. That is a disease where the valves of the deeper veins may be compromised and cause pressure to the veins near the surface of the skin.
Heredity, aging, pregnancy, obesity and being overweight are common causes of these veins. In addition, intra-abdominal pressure or liver disease can cause these veins to be noticed. Once the patient has been evaluated and found to have no underlying diseases, treatment can commence.
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Spider veins and reticular veins are treated with sclerotherapy and laser treatment. Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure done by injecting different types of solutions into the affected veins. Treatments are usually done once or twice and are separated by several weeks in order to see results. Often, these treatments need to be repeated over several years as the underlying disease is not being cured.
Laser treatments can be done superficially through the skin or with a laser catheter for bigger veins that go deeper into the surrounding area. Generally the lasers are recommended when having spider vein treatment of the face because sclerosing solutions can be dangerous. Make an appointment, ask questions and you’ll be sure to have a successful and happy result.
Dr. Carlos Wolf is a partner in Miami Plastic Surgery and is board certified. Email your questions to him at Cwolf@miamiplasticsurgery.com.