What treatments are available for varicose veins and spider veins?
There are many different treatments available for varicose veins. These treatments vary based upon the size and location of the varicose veins, the presence of symptoms, and in cases of accompanying skin changes (for example, swelling, dermatitis or ulceration, for example). Briefly, potential treatments may include:
- leg elevation while sitting or sleeping,
- compression dressings with single or multilayered systems,
- compression stockings,
- sclerotherapy (injection of a liquid or foam into the vein to form a clot and permanently destroy the vessel),
- ablation (destruction) of abnormal veins with techniques using laser, radiofrequency or other modalities
- surgery (removal of the varicose veins, including "phlebectomy" or vein stripping).
In general, sclerotherapy and laser therapy are helpful in treating spider veins (telangiectasias), while ablation and surgery may be a better option for larger varicose veins.
Is treatment always necessary?
No, not if varicose and spider veins are primarily a cosmetic problem. But severe cases that do not respond to compression therapy, especially those associated with ulcers and dermatitis, generally require further treatment.
Thousands of people every year consider getting treatment for varicose veins and spider veins. Advertisements for treating venous disease often tout "unique," "permanent," "painless," or "absolutely safe" methods, thus making it difficult for individuals make a decision on the best treatment option. If you are uncertain about the safety or effectiveness of any treatment check with a health care professional.
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How can compression stockings help with varicose veins?
Compression stockings work simply by squeezing the leg, thereby reducing the amount of blood and pressure in the veins. There are various brands, styles, and colors of stockings available. The degree of pressure applied around the leg should be guided by a health care professional. Ideally, they should be fitted when the leg is not swollen, and they can be made-to-order for each patient. Older or obese individuals often have difficulty putting on the stockings, which must be worn when the patient is standing. These stockings typically lose some degree of the compression over time so they may need to be replaced regularly.Continue Reading