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Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are small, superficial, thread-like blood vessels that commonly appear on the thighs, back of the knees and chest. They can appear anywhere on the body as blue, red, or purple lines, or nests, and they are easily treated.
Columbus, Ohio, plastic surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Donaldson uses sclerotherapy to make these unsightly areas vanish. This is a safe, effective procedure during which concentrated saline solution is injected into the tiny vessels to cause them to collapse. It is generally much more affordable than laser therapy and it only takes a few minutes to complete. The injection causes a mild warmth, or burning sensation that lasts several seconds, and bruising may last for up to a week. The treated areas are wrapped in an ACE bandage for comfort, and several sessions may be necessary to obtain a permanent result.
Female gender, genetics, obesity, history of trauma and prolonged standing may contribute to the development of spider veins over time.
Spider veins are commonly confused with varicose veins, which are larger blood vessels that occur deeper in the legs. Varicose veins may cause fatigue, swelling, pain or feelings of heaviness that ultimately require surgical intervention. In contrast, spider veins are of cosmetic concern only and surgery is unnecessary for spider vein treatment.