Although spider veins mainly develop on ankles, thighs and feet, they can also appear on the hands and even the face. Spider veins are fine, bluish or reddish, threadlike lines that create a network of tiny blood vessels, resembling a spider web. They're not considered dangerous, but they can look ugly. Having spider veins can visually age you, especially when they're located on your hands. If you wear gloves to hide your spider veins, take heart. Here are some the common causes and treatment options.
Common Causes and Risk Factors
The condition is caused by a mild venous deficiency, known as venous insufficiency. In other words, the veins have a hard time moving blood. This problem can be for various reasons such as gender, age or genetics. Women are more likely to have spider veins on their hands than men are.
There are other factors that can increase your chances of developing spider veins, such as obesity and smoking. Being physically inactive can also put more stress on the circulatory system, leading to this condition.
Where Spider Veins Typically Develop on the Hands
Spider veins usually form on the front of the hands, rather than on the backside. When spider veins do develop on the back, they only protrude slightly, unlike the normal spidery clusters. More prominent veins that surface on the backside of hands are usually the result of skin elasticity or skin thinning due to aging.
Because spider veins on the hands are too tiny and widespread, surgery isn't possible. However, there are less invasive therapies that can be done. The most common treatment is schelortherapy therapy. The procedure involves injecting a schlerosant solution into the affected veins by using a fine gauge needle. The saline solution makes the vein lining irritated, which leads to scar tissue. This causes the vein to gradually shrink and disappear. The blood is then rerouted over the veins.
Besides offering cosmetic improvements, this treatment also helps with blood circulation, getting rid of uncomfortable symptoms from spider veins. It usually renders lasting results, but there's still the chance of new spider veins forming in the same place. This is particularly the case for people who stand a greater chance of developing them.
Laser therapy is another type of treatment. Instead of needles or incisions, laser therapy entails using a handheld device that delivers a strong beam of light onto the affected veins. The heat from the high-energy laser zaps the vein, causing it to slowly fade away. It generally takes about four to six weeks for spider veins disappear.
No damage is done to any neighboring skin tissue. This is because the laser is highly focused. On the other hand, this procedure can create some swelling, bruising, scarring and even skin discoloration.
Electrocautery treatments are sometimes used. Also called thermal cautery, this treatment entails using an alternating or direct current that passes through a metal wire electrode for producing heat. After the electrode is heated, it's applied to tissue to destroy spider veins. This therapy is rarely used, mainly because it can cause scarring and skin color changes.
Considerations and Warnings
- Spider veins affect about 75 percent of American adults. It usually starts when people are in their 40s or 50s.
- You'll need to wear a compression glove on your hands for a few hours following a schlerotherapy procedure.
- Most patients are able to get back to their regular activities the day following their procedure.
- You may hear unbelievable promises regarding treatments. Thoroughly research any claims that guarantee totally pain-free procedures or permanent results by asking for specific documentation.
You don't have to suffer from unsightly spider veins on your hands. Visit a qualified plastic surgeon to see what can be done for your problem.