Disorders of leg veins such as varicose veins or spider veins are extremely common. If a normal vein gets stretched out beyond its normal size, it will never return back to its original size. Once the normal vein is enlarged, it is very easy for it to continue to enlarge. If this vein is located under the skin it can grow to quite substantial in size and is termed a varicose vein.
If it is a normally a small vein located within the skin, this is usually termed a spider vein. Both varicose veins and spider veins can form very large networks. As these veins enlarge they quite commonly become painful and symptomatic.
The causes of varicose veins and spider veins are commonly related to pregnancy, prolonged standing or walking, a previous deep vein clot, or even a hereditary disposition. Sometimes, a cause for varicose veins cannot be determined.
Initially, treatment for enlarged veins of the lower extremities includes compression. This could be with elastic bandages or fitted compression stockings. Unfortunately, these treatments can be quite cumbersome and in warm weather can be uncomfortable.
Fortunately varicose veins and spider veins are easy to treat. Larger varicose veins can be treated with VNUS closure. This is an alternative to vein-stripping. This is often followed by ambulatory phlebectomy which removes the visible varicose veins under the skin. Finally, sclerotherapy is used for the spider veins in the skin.