Your arteries deliver oxygen-rich blood to the body’s tissues, and your veins return oxygen-poor blood to the heart. If anything goes wrong with either side of the system, it can affect all parts of the body. In the case of the veins, problems can range from localized blood pooling and visible varicose veins on the legs to blood clots.
At Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics, in Puyallup, Washington, vein specialist Dr. Mark Kim offers a number of vein treatments to improve your health while getting rid of the signs and symptoms of vein damage. Here’s what you need to know about your veins and the different types of treatments we offer.
What happens when veins go bad?
Once your arteries have delivered blood to the tissues, the blood has to make a return trip to the heart through the veins. It’s literally an uphill battle — gravity tries to pull it downward, back into the extremities. Your body compensates in two different ways. First, the calf and thigh muscles contract, forcing the blood toward the heart. And second, each vein has a series of one-way valves that close behind the blood as it flows through.
Vein walls can weaken over time and valves can become damaged, not allowing the blood to flow back to the heart and pool. This condition is known as venous insufficiency.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) affects an estimated 40% of people in the United States, more often in women than in men, and more frequently in those over 50 years. CVI can also be caused by, or lead to, deep vein thrombosis, a potentially life-threatening blood clot in a deep vein of the leg.
Sometimes CVI can lead to merely cosmetic concerns, such as spider veins, but it also causes leg pain, itchiness, and that leads to swelling, skin discoloration, and leg ulcers. It’s important that you get treatment so your vein disease doesn’t reach this point.
Spider veins and varicose veins
Spider veins, also known as telangiectasia, are often fed by reticular veins (small rope-like veins). They form in spider web-like patterns on the skin’s surface due to increased pressure from the underlying vein. They can also appear on the face associated with conditions like rosacea. When the larger veins in the legs become affected, they form ropy, discolored varicose veins.
Understanding the different types of vein treatments
Dr. Kim offers a number of different techniques to alleviate the pain from, and improve the appearance of, both spider and varicose veins.
Spider vein treatments include:
Asclera®: an FDA-approved injectable sclerosant (irritating solution) that causes veins to collapse and seal off
Laser sclerotherapy: uses a focused beam of light instead of an injected solution
Veinwave™: uses thermocoagulation to heat spider veins, instantly sealing them shut
Varicose vein treatments:
VenaSeal™: uses a medical adhesive to seal the vein shut
Venefit™ (formerly VNUS closure): uses radiofrequency (RF) ablation to heat the vein from within, causing it to collapse
Visible facial veins can be spider veins or inflamed blood vessels due to rosacea, sun exposure, or other factors. Dr. Kim uses both Veinwave and laser sclerotherapy to treat them, depending on your needs.
Visible veins on your hands aren’t necessarily dysfunctional, but they do become more obvious as you age. Asclera is one option to reduce their appearance. Another is to use injectable dermal fillers to increase lost volume, making the veins less visible.
If you’re dealing with either spider or varicose veins and are bothered by their appearance or the symptoms they cause, Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics offers proven treatments that can help. Give our office a call at 253-268-3400 to schedule a consultation, or request a virtual vein screening on our website.