Spider veins, which appear as unsightly bulges, usually on the legs, may be a medical, as well as cosmetic, problem. Spider veins affect both men and women. According to the The National Institutes of Health, a quarter of patients who suffer from this condition are men. More women seek help for this disorder than men not only because more women suffer from them, but because in our culture women expose their legs more frequently to public view. Regardless of gender, however, spider veins can be a serious problem requiring medical intervention.
Spider veins are the result of diseased veins with weakened walls and valves. These weaknesses in the veins may be congenital or may occur as a result of precipitating events or lifestyle habits. When veins are not functioning properly, they fail to return blood to the heart efficiently, and the blood begins to pool. This condition is known as venous insufficiency. When damaged valves are unable to keep blood moving in the proper direction, a backflow results; this condition is referred to as venous reflux.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive medical procedure used to treat varicose and spider veins, most commonly found on the legs, by collapsing them through the use of a solvent. Sclerotherapy has been used on patients since the 1930s with great success, producing increasingly effective medical, as well as cosmetic, results.