WHAT ARE SPIDER AND RETICULAR VEINS?
Spider veins are abnormal skin veins that are enlarged. They typically are red or blue-red and lie within the skin layer. Reticular veins are the larger, blue veins that lie just underneath the skin layer. These veins all serve to take the blood back to the main veins, and from there to the heart. The options to treat these conditions include lasers and injection sclerotherapy.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF SPIDER AND RETICULAR VEINS?
Patients with spider veins and reticular veins ascribe their symptoms to their vein problem. Such symptoms include leg heaviness, tenderness over a cluster of veins, itching, or a burning sensation. Sometimes, patients will state that they had a sudden and sharp pain, following which a new cluster of veins developed.
WHAT ARE THE RISK FACTORS FOR SPIDER AND RETICULAR VEINS?
The risk factors for these types of enlarged veins is the same as for varicose veins.
The options for treatment are either sclerotherapy or laser. Sclerotherapy involves injecting the veins with a solution known as a sclerosant. Essentially, the solution irritates the inside of the vein, causing it to collapse and close down. Several solutions are used for this purpose. Sodium Tetrodecol (Sotradecol) is probably the most commonly used solution for sclerotherapy. It is mixed in a concentration of 0.25% to 1%, depending on the size of the vein, and injected into the vein with a 30 or 27 gauge needle. Sotradecol is FDA approved for sclerotherapy and works well. However, its main side-effects are staining of the skin. Staining is a result of blood coagulating in the vessel after treatment, leaving a small iron deposit that can take the body several months to reabsorb. Other sclerosants that are used include Polidocanol, which works similarly. Most clinicians think that Polidocanol leads to less staining. Other solutions that are used included glycerin and hypertonic saline.
Another way of treating spider veins and reticular veins is the laser. Several different wavelength lasers can treat these veins, including the 940 nm laser, and the 1064 nm laser. In the vein treatment community, the 1064 nm laser is considered by many to be the best choice. However, most people use the 1064 nm laser as an adjunct to sclerotherapy.
Alternative remedies for varicose and spider veins are abundant. these treatments are said to both repair and prevent venous insufficiency. Some of these treatments include herbal supplements and vitamins, and they have been used in Europe far more than in the U.S.