3 nonsurgical ways to cover unsightly leg veins

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Warm weather is here, and with it comes shorter hemlines, lighter fabrics and more skin showing. Unfortunately, 20 percent of all adults, and 50 percent of adults over 50, experience varicose veins, predominantly women. If the unsightly veins on your legs embarrass you, there are a few natural remedies to help.

Makeup. Today, there are a number of high-quality makeup formulas designed to temporarily hide significant skin imperfections. These long lasting products can cover a variety of discolorations and irregularities such as scars, birthmarks, veins and even tattoos. Even your own makeup concealer can be used to cover small areas, but if you have larger areas to cover, there are products for that as well.

Self-tanners. We’ve talked about minimizing skin cancer risks here in the past, so we’re already big fans of any sunless tanning options. But did you know that sunless tanning products can also minimize the appearance of varicose and spider veins? Self-tanning creams and lotions can help cover scars and light veins, and even make skin dimples, cellulite and protruding veins less conspicuous. The bronzing reflects light and evens the overall skin tone and greatly improves appearance. Besides, who doesn’t love a little tan color for those summer picnics and events?

Stockings. Even though stockings are not the first option that comes to mind when you think of summer, you might want to think again. Today’s compression stockings offer a multitude of cute and fashionable options to wear with shorts and skirts. They look like regular knee-high socks, but offer coverage of any discolored or protruding leg veins, as well as the added benefits of compression for pain relief, improved circulation and slowing the progression of vein irregularity.

However, if you’re just simply tired of trying to find new ways to camouflage your embarrassing leg veins, give us a call and let’s see what we can do for you. Our vascular specialists are experts in evaluating and treating varicose veins, from unsightly spider veins using new, gentle and highly effective treatments to the relief of more serious, painful and even dangerous major varicose veins. Our vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists work hand in hand to treat patients with varicose using today’s most advanced technology and procedures, with your treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.

Spring is around the corner and I don’t want to live with these spider veins anymore – what can you do for me?

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Don’t be embarrassed. You don’t have to live with spider veins anymore.

If you’re always covering up your spider veins, those unsightly dark blue or red blotches or jagged networks of tiny veins on your legs with longer skirts, pants and bathing suit wraps and towels – it doesn’t have to be that way. Today we offer gentle, virtually pain free treatments that eliminate or greatly diminish the appearance of spider veins.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but are milder, involving the smaller veins just below the skin surface. Spider veins are more common among women of any age, and frequently appear during/after pregnancy or when gaining weight. The extra burden weakens the valves in the veins carrying blood back to the heart, so the blood pools and the veins swell. When only small, surface veins are affected, the result is spider veins, which can range from little patches to very large areas. They generally do not bulge or cause pain. But they can do damage to your self-esteem.

The good news is that today, spider veins are treatable – and easier to treat than other varicose veins. With new treatments using injections or safe laser technology, we offer cosmetic options that diminish or eliminate spider veins – and the embarrassment.

How are spider veins treated?

Until recently, spider veins went untreated. The veins are very small, there can be hundreds or thousands of them, and they do not present a significant health risk that requires surgery. However, today we can offer two gentle, technically advanced and effective treatments for spider veins that shrink or let the body absorb the damaged veins, leaving behind clear, unblemished skin: sclerotherapy or surface laser therapy.

Sclerotherapy involves using a tiny needle to inject individual spider veins with a solution that makes them shrink. As they shrink, blood is channeled to deeper veins, making the spider veins on the surface almost invisible. The vast majority of patients who have sclerotherapy experience significant improvement in the appearance of their veins.

Surface laser therapy uses an extremely accurate laser to deliver painless pulses of light energy to the spider veins on the surface of the skin. The energy causes the blood inside the veins to coagulate, which eventually destroys the spider veins, which are gradually absorbed by the body, which redirects blood flow to veins deeper below the skin’s surface, leaving behind clear, unblemished skin.

How long does treatment take?

The number of treatments needed to clear or improve your spider veins depends on their amount and severity. The average treatment is three to five sessions. Smaller veins may disappear after the first session. However, severe cases may require as many or ten or more sessions: in some cases, a vein may need to be injected one to five times or more, over a period of weeks or months. Multiple areas can be treated during each session, reducing the total number of treatments needed. In general, you’ll see an overall improvement within weeks or months.

Spider vein treatments do not prevent development of new spider veins over the years. Pregnancy, high estrogen levels or jobs that require a lot of standing may increase the likelihood that spider veins will reappear. Many people will require additional treatments from time to time to keep their legs clear.

Will insurance cover my treatment?

Most insurance companies consider spider vein treatment a cosmetic procedure, not medical, and in most cases it is not covered by insurance. You should check your individual plan to verify what varicose vein treatment options are included in your plan. Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options. You may decide that your beautiful legs are worth it.

I’m interested in getting rid of the spider veins on my legs before summer. What can you do to help me? How long does treatment take?

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About half of all Americans over the age of 50 suffer from varicose veins that make walking and standing difficult. Although more common as you age, varicose veins and spider veins are seen in 20% of American adults.

Spider veins and varicose veins are more common in women, especially after weight gain, including pregnancy. Veins are responsible for carrying blood to the heart and lungs. Veins have a type of “valve” that function only one way. This prevents the flow of blood back into the veins. If this one-way valve is weakened, the blood flows back into the veins causing the veins to get congested. They become enlarged which results in the formation of varicose veins or spider veins.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller. They are often red or blue and are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. They can look like tree branches or spider webs with their short jagged lines and can cover a very small area or very large areas. Spider veins are usually easier to treat than varicose veins using sclerotherapy or laser vein treatment.

Sclerotherapy is a procedure where an injection is used to treat spider veins. The sclerotherapy procedure uses an extremely tiny needle to inject the vein with a solution that shrinks the vein. As the vein shrinks, blood is channeled to deeper veins, lessening the appearance of the spider vein on the skin of the surface. The vast majority of patients who have sclerotherapy will experience significant improvement in the appearance of their veins.

Surface laser therapy is another treatment option for spider veins that delivers pulses of light energy. This surface laser therapy causes the blood within the vein to coagulate, eventually destroying the spider vein, which is later reabsorbed by the body. Blood flow is then redirected to veins deeper below the skin’s surface.

Predicting the number of sclerotherapy or surface laser treatments needed to clear or improve your spider veins is difficult. Each vein may need to be injected one to five times, or more, over a period of weeks or months.

The total number of spider vein treatment sessions needed depends on the amount and severity of the veins. Average treatment is three to five sessions, however, severe cases may require as many as 10 or more.

“Sclerotherapy and laser therapy do not prevent development of new spider veins over the years,” said Dr. Brian Strife. “Standing occupations, pregnancy and high estrogen states may increase the likelihood that spider veins will appear. Many people will require additional treatments from time to time to keep their legs clear.”

Improvement is usually seen over a period of weeks or months. Smaller veins can disappear after the first treatment session. Multiple areas can be treated during each session, reducing the total number of sessions required.