Varicose & Spider Vein Care

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Vein disease in the legs is one of the most common medical conditions. About half of the population has some form of it, including varicose and spider veins. Vein disease appears in 15%–20% of all adults. About half of people over 50 have varicose or spider veins, and women get them more often than men.

You can’t really prevent varicose and spider veins. If people in your family have them, there’s a very good chance you’ll have them too. Special diets and footwear are very unlikely to prevent varicose and spider veins.

If you think you have varicose or spider veins, look at the size and color of the vein or veins at the surface of your skin and compare with the descriptions on this page. Sometimes a diseased vein may be deeper and not visible through the skin but it can still cause other signs. Cramps, aches, burning, itching and soreness can mean you have vein disease. Tiredness or restlessness in your legs, especially in the calves, is also a sign. If you have any of these signs, your doctor has a quick, simple test to determine whether you have vein disease.

Vein disease

Joint Replacement

Veins are the blood vessels that return blood from the rest of the body to the heart. The heart is high up in the body, so it has to work against gravity to push blood back up from the legs. Veins help the heart with one-way valves that open to allow blood to flow upward when the heart pumps, then close to prevent blood from flowing back down to the legs (called “reflux”). When these valves don’t work, or if the vein is damaged so the valves don’t close completely, blood can pool in the vein. This pooling causes vein disease.

There are two kinds of vein disease:

Spider Veins

Spider veins are small, thread-like colored veins seen just under the surface of the skin. Many people want spider veins removed for a better appearance, but spider veins can also cause a lot of discomfort.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are large, rope-like veins. They’re often a quarter inch thick or even thicker. Varicose veins generally get larger over time and can cause a lot of pain and other problems if you don’t have them treated.

Vein disease gets worse if not treated

Varicose veins generally get worse over time. First you feel slight pain and restlessness in the leg with the diseased vein. If the vein is untreated, pain increases. Pain from vein disease can make it hard to walk and cause cramps when you sleep. Eventually, varicose veins can lead to open sores on the foot, blood clots and the need to remove tissue.

Varicose and spider vein treatment

The right treatment depends on what kind of vein disease you have and how far it’s progressed. Your doctor can explain your options to you. These treatments are common for varicose and spider veins:

Compression stockings

These can help if you have minor pain from varicose veins. A compression stocking helps your leg pump blood back to your heart. This can relieve symptoms, but it doesn’t make varicose veins go away.


This is a common treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins. The doctor injects a small amount of special liquid (called “sclerosing liquid”) into the diseased vein. The sclerosing liquid makes the vein seal shut and eliminates the problem. A doctor can perform sclerotherapy in the office quickly and without anesthesia.

Surgical stripping

In the past, the only treatment for a large varicose vein was to remove, or strip, the vein from the body surgically. This is done in an operating room with anesthesia, and it takes a long time to recover. In recent years, a modified form of stripping, called “ambulatory phlebectomy” has become more common. In this version of surgical stripping, multiple tiny incisions are made and through those tiny incisions the varicose veins are removed. These incisions are so small that generally no stitches are needed. The damage to the leg and post-surgery recovery time is minimized.

Endovenous ablation

Endovenous radiofrequency ablation seals abnormal veins closed. The damaged vein doesn’t have to be removed from your body. A tiny needle is placed into the vein, through which a small catheter is placed. Through this catheter, a thin wire is placed into the vein. Once in place, the wire is activated, delivering very localized heat, which makes the vein close permanently. Endovenous radiofrequency ablation can be done in the doctor’s office in less than an hour.

After varicose and spider vein treatment

Blood flows normally

The leg has many veins. When we close a damaged one, blood just flows through other, healthy veins. The change causes no problems in the movement of blood through your body.

Serious complications are rare

Sclerotherapy and endovenous laser therapy rarely cause serious complications when they’re done properly. Some minor complications are common, including bruising, mild itching, tingling, tenderness and tightness in the treated leg for up to two weeks after treatment.

Insurance for varicose and spider vein treatment

Your insurance probably covers treatment of vein disease that causes substantial pain and other complications. You need to check with your insurance company because some companies limit the types of treatment they cover.

Varicose & Spider Vein Treatment Specialists in Lorain

Charles R Wehbe, MD

Mercy Health - Lorain Vascular and Interventional Radiology
3600 Kolbe Road, Suite 220
Lorain, OH 44053
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Call 440-960-4512
to schedule an appointment.

Lorain Varicose & Spider Vein Care Locations