Similar to varicose veins, spider veins are smaller (less than 1 mm in diameter) but to those that are afflicted, they are just as unsightly and can sometimes be painful. Proper circulation includes blood flow between large and small veins. Spider veins commonly occur when blood is disrupted between the two and gets backed up in the smaller veins, resulting in small, dark veins on the skin. Affecting men and women of all ages, spider veins may not be a serious condition but they often cause people to cover up their legs due to embarrassment. Thanks to major advents in technology, there are new non-surgical treatments that can treat spider veins in one treatment with no downtime.
The newest FDA approved product to treat spider veins is Asclera. At the annual American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) meeting this summer, American Health and Beauty editor, Keith Veseleny, spoke with leading dermatologist, Dr. Heidi Waldorf about the treatment. Dr. Waldorf says that it's "miraculous" for patients and rids them of embarrassing spider veins with no pain and no stinging. She says that compared to lasers, Asclera injection therapy is the treatment of choice for small blood vessels. The Asclera injection damages the cell lining of the blocked small blood vessels, causing them to close. Eventually, the vessels are replaced by other types of tissue.
Another FDA approved product, Veinwave, also treats spider veins by inserting a very small needle near the spider vein. An ultrasonic pulse then sends heat energy to the vein thus causing the blood cells within the spider vein to coagulate and disappear almost immediately. Safe and nearly pain free, there may be redness after the VeinWave treatment but that passes after a few days.
Dr. Alexander Rivkin, a cosmetic surgeon in Los Angeles, appeared on The Doctors recently to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Veinwave procedure. According to Dr. Rivkin, the spider vein "goes away permanently and instantly so you can see it go, and there's not a lot of collateral damage, so you don't get the swelling, you don't get the bruising, you don't even get the pain. We don't have to use numbing cream for this."
There are few risks and side effects associated with both treatments. Consult your physician if you have any known allergies as these may factor in with whether or not Asclera can be used as treatment. With Veinwave, there may be small scars where the veins used to be but those should clear up within about two weeks. Generally speaking, only one treatment is necessary and treated veins will not return. However, new spider veins may develop so additional visits may be needed.