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by Dr Gavin Chan - Victorian Cosmetic Institute

Leg Veins: Causes, Types & Treatment Options

The number one complaint that people have about the appearance of their legs is unsightly veins. Indeed, leg vein problems - including reticular veins, spider veins and varicose veins - are equal opportunity offenders, striking people of all ages and of varying degrees of health. Being embarrassed about the appearance of your legs can damage your self esteem and make you reticent to wear shorts or to go to the beach. Learn more about the various types of leg vein problems, and what can be done about them, by reading on below.

The Most Common Types Of Leg Veins

Generally speaking, there are three types of leg veins:

Reticular Veins - Small, fine, light blue veins that appear just beneath the surface of the skin.

Spider Veins - Small, blue or red veins that lie within a deeper layer of the skin and can spread over a large area.

Varicose Veins - Swollen, ropey veins that are very close to the surface of the skin, often giving it a bumpy, uneven appearance.

What Causes Leg Veins?

Veins in the legs contain valves that keep blood from flowing the wrong way, back down the leg. When those one-way valves malfunction - something that is called valvular incompetence - blood experiences reflux, in which it seeps into the smaller superficial veins and back down the leg. As it travels into the leg's superficial veins, the blood causes reticular veins and spider veins. Reflux also prompts the development of varicose veins, making larger veins swollen and misshapen. Once that occurs, veins can't "bounce back" on their own, and the problem worsens over time.

Treatment Options For Leg Veins

There are several different options for treating leg veins; information about each, along with their pros and cons, is listed below:

  • Noninvasive Methods - Compression stockings, weight loss, exercise and leg elevation are popular, noninvasive ways to treat leg veins. While these are less complicated ways to handle leg veins, they are also the least effective.
  • Sclerotherapy - Medication called sclerosant is injected into the affected vein during sclerotherapy, causing it to seal shut. In the past, the sclerosant was rather painful; today, it is much more mild. This outpatient procedure is quite effective, but multiple sessions are usually required.
  • Endovenous Laser Therapy - Using an ultra-thin catheter or fiber, physicians apply a laser to the interior of the troubled vein, causing it to close. One drawback to this increasingly popular procedure is that local anesthesia is required. Otherwise, it is a short office visit and patients can get back on their feet - and on with their lives - immediately.
  • Microphlebectomy - This procedure is reserved for particularly stubborn leg veins and involves a series of small incisions through which sections of the troubled vein are pulled out. It is much more painful and invasive than other modern procedures.

Dr. Gavin Chan (MBBS)
The Victorian Cosmetic Institute
Level 6, 200 High St
Lower Templestowe 3107

Leg Veins - Victorian Cosmetic Institute

Varicose Veins