Prominent leg veins can be unattractive, causing you to experience self-consciousness in social interactions. If you are reluctant to wear skirts or shorts due to the appearance of your legs veins, you may want to consider vein treatments to improve the condition. Varicose veins and spider veins can also cause significant discomfort among other symptoms, and vein treatments can help alleviate your leg pain.
Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald uses state-of-the-art laser technology to eliminate the appearance of unsightly leg veins. After your treatment, you will be able to show off your legs with pride. You can receive customized leg vein treatment recommendations by speaking with Dr. Fitzgerald in person at our Los Angeles cosmetic dermatology office.
If you’re interested in vein treatment for your varicose or spider veins, please contact our dermatologist today at (323) 430-9800 to schedule your consultation. Rebecca Fitzgerald, MD serves clients in L.A., Beverly Hills and Larchmont, California.
There are a variety of symptoms, causes and treatments for leg veins and some of the most important aspects for you to know include:
- Types of Leg Veins
- Causes of Leg Veins
- Symptoms of Leg Veins
- Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatments
- Your Health Insurance and Vein Treatment
- Choosing the Right Dermatologist
Types of Leg Veins
There are two different types of leg veins:
- Varicose veins: These blue and purple leg veins are swollen blood vessels that are visible through the skin and typically blue and purple in color. They appear in the lower legs and ankles and worsen with age.
- Spider veins: Spider veins are thinner than varicose veins and form an intricate and visible "spider web" shape on your skin. Unlike varicose veins, they do not result in any pain. Spider veins can also appear on the face.
Many women and men are under the misconception that the appearance of spider veins and varicose veins are a natural part of aging, but it’s not normal to have tired or swollen legs at any age. Varicose veins are considered a chronic medical condition which can become serious and should be treated for both cosmetic and health reasons.
If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to blood clots or skin laceration.
Causes of Leg Veins
Varicose and spider veins are skin conditions caused by valve issues in your blood vessels that result in broken veins near the surface of your skin. Each of your legs has a one-way valve that pushes the blood back up your legs to your heart as you walk. That valve may weaken or become damaged over time due to gravity and other contributing factors, which causes blood and pressure to build up and lead to the aching feeling in your legs you may experience at the end of the day. This vein failure is known as venous insufficiency.
Venous insufficiency is much more common in women than men, and around 30%-60% of American adults have spider veins or varicose veins. The aging process is just one of many potential causes of these leg veins. Other factors include:
- Sun exposure
- Hormonal changes caused by puberty, pregnancy or menopause
- Prolonged use of birth control pills
- Muscle weakness
- Trauma or injury to the skin
- A history of blood clots
Some occupations that involve a lot of time spent standing can lead to venous insufficiency as well such as teachers, nurses and hair stylists. Contrary to popular belief, wearing tight clothing, crossing your legs and other behaviors do not cause spider veins or varicose veins.
Symptoms of Leg Veins
Spider veins typically don’t come with severe symptoms other than their unsightly appearance. However, varicose veins can be accompanied by a host of symptoms such as:
- Tired, aching legs
- Throbbing sensations
- Leg heaviness
- Restless legs
- Pain or difficulty standing
- Leg cramping at night
These symptoms generally worsen throughout the day, especially after you’ve been sitting or standing for a while, and can be temporarily alleviated by elevating your legs. Eczema on your legs and ankles could be another sign of varicose veins. Less common symptoms involve skin discoloration and ulcers. Painful blood clots can form due to varicose veins and come with vein inflammation known as thrombophlebitis.
Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatments
There are a variety of treatments available for leg veins such as support stockings, laser treatments and sclerotherapy. Vein treatments are typically done in our office with minimal discomfort, and you can resume your regular activities right after your appointment. Treating your spider veins or varicose veins can improve your ability to perform physical activities, lessen your pain and other symptoms, while also improving the appearance of your legs and giving you back the confidence you once had in your body. A majority of the treatments we offer can be done within one or two hours and are performed on an out-patient basis.
An ultrasound screening is required to determine what’s going on in your legs, and depending on the nature and severity of your spider veins or varicose veins, Dr. Fitzgerald may recommend one of the following treatment options:
- Vbeam Laser: This vascular laser treatment seals broken vessels to improve the appearance of unsightly leg veins. The Vbeam Pulsed Dye Laser produces targeted laser light at a specific frequency to treat blood vessels without harming your skin’s surface.
- IPL Photofacial: This treatment involves Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) which produces a certain wavelength of light that heats the deep layers of your skin and diffuses redness caused by a proliferation of amassed small spider veins.
- Excel V: This treatment option has an excellent ability to target small veins where other lasers are too strong. The Excel V’s 532 wavelength is much better absorbed by the red color (hemoglobin) in the vessels being treated, resulting in more heat getting into the vessels, and thus, better outcomes.
- Sclerotherapy: This treatment is very effective for spider veins and small varicose veins. A highly concentrated saline solution is injected into the vein, causing it to gradually fade within a few weeks.
The treatments listed above can effectively help reduce the unsightly appearance and discomfort caused by spider veins and varicose veins. Remember, it’s important to treat these leg veins because they can lead to more severe symptoms and conditions.
Your Health Insurance and Vein Treatment
Varicose veins are a medical condition which can end in severe health issues, and because of this, many health insurance providers cover vein treatment. Physicians, dermatologists and insurance companies consider treating varicose veins a necessity, which should be dealt with immediately in order to prevent further complications. Spider vein treatment is usually not covered by insurance plans as the symptoms are not as severe and typically don’t lead to serious medical concerns.
Health insurance providers typically cover the cost of other treatments for skin conditions such as:
- Skin biopsies
- Skin cancer
- Birthmark removal
However, strictly cosmetic treatments such as BOTOX® Cosmetic, tattoo removal and chemical peels are considered elective and not covered by most providers.
If you’re not sure if your health insurance plan covers varicose vein treatment, speak with one of your insurance representatives by calling the member line listed on your insurance card to find out.
Choosing the Right Dermatologist
When you choose a dermatologist to treat leg veins or any skin condition, it’s important to schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable and experienced doctor. Dr. Rebecca Fitzgerald is an accomplished cosmetic dermatologist who has been a featured medical expert in the media both local to Los Angeles and nationwide. Dr. Fitzgerald has been published in medical journals and presented at educational seminars. She’s highly sought after for her expertise by professionals around the world.
Dr. Fitzgerald uses state-of-the-art technology and provides advanced treatments for a range of skin conditions such as acne scars, excessive sweating, skin tightening and many others. If you’re struggling with painful or unsightly skin issues, our cosmetic dermatologist can help.
If you’re interested in vein treatments for varicose or spider veins, please contact Dr. Fitzgerald in Los Angeles today at (323) 430-9800 to schedule your leg vein consultation. We provide advanced dermatology services and treatments to patients in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Larchmont and nearby California areas.