Spider veins - Orchid Surgery  
The TIPPS Technique
A revolutionary treatment advance for varicose veins.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins, referred to medically as telangiesctasias, are small, dilated, and visible blood vessels on the skin that appear red or blue. They get their name from the fact that they usually appear in a spider web like or branched pattern. They occur on the legs, the face and on other areas of the body. Spider veins may cover large areas of skin and can be quite unattractive.

What causes spider veins to become visible?
The appearance of spider veins has been associated with puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, and wearing tight girdles or hosiery held up with tight rubber bands. Spider veins on the nose or the cheeks of fair skinned persons may be related to sun exposure.
How are spider veins treated?

The injection of specially formulated solutions into the veins, a procedure called sclerotherapy, is the gold standard used to treat spider veins. Advances in laser technology have made possible the use of lasers in treating varicose veins in people of all skin colors. Multiple treatments are needed to erase 50 to 90 percent of these veins. Risks and complications of these treatment methods vary according to the type of solution or laser being used for the treatment. There is almost no down time with these in-office procedures.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are larger dilated blood vessels that appear blue and bulging under the skin.  These veins occur from the backward flow of blood in the legs caused by damaged or diseased valves in the veins.  Varicose veins are typically larger and cause more discomfort than spider veins and they may occur along with spider veins. 

Symptoms & problems associated with varicose veins may include:
Dull, generalized aching (especially after standing for long periods)
Throbbing pain
Cramping, especially at nights
Tiredness, heaviness or fatigue of the legs & feet
Burning or tingling
Ankle swelling
Swelling of the ankle and lower leg.
Discolored, brownish skin near the ankle.
A rash or skin ulceration on the ankle or lower leg
Blood clots forming within veins (thrombophlebitis).

Who is affected by varicose veins?

Varicose veins do not occur suddenly. It usually takes years for symptoms to develop. Varicose veins are commonly inherited, although it is important to note that anyone can get them. Often times varicose veins are common in people that have had certain types of leg injuries or deep vein blood clots. Varicose veins also become more frequent as people work standing still or sitting down, exercise less, wear restrictive clothing and gain weight.

Other contributing risk factors associated with varicose veins:

Hormonal influences, especially during pregnancy
Use of oral contraceptives
Post menopausal hormone replacement
Medical conditions that may increase intra-abdominal pressure such as tumors, constipation, and externally worn garments such as girdles

Varicose vein treatment

While patients often try to ignore varicose veins, treatment is important to prevent dilated, twisted veins, episodes of aching pain, and leg ulcers on the surface of the skin. If left untreated, varicose veins can lead to more serious complications. Early treatment is highly recommended to help prevent the varicose veins from becoming very advanced.

Traditional varicose vein surgeries such as stab avulsion phlebectomy or the hook method are "blind procedures" requiring long operative times and multiple incisions. These older varicose vein procedures required numerous incisions to be made with a scalpel and a hook probe to separate the vein from the tissue surrounding it. The vein was then grasped by a clamp and pulled out. This method was inefficient, less effective and a more painful procedure that required a long recovery period of up to 8 weeks. The many incisions on the skin increased the risk for complications such as infection and left many unsightly permanent scars on the legs. Patient would often have to undergo repeat surgeries in order to achieve acceptable results.

Today, with the advent of the new advanced technique called The Trans-illuminated Power Phlebectomy System (TIPPS) varicose vein surgery has been revolutionized. The TIPPS technique has been found to be far superior to previous techniques.

While traditional varicose vein surgery is a "blind procedure," meaning that surgeons cannot always see the vein or confirm removal, The TIPPS unique illumination feature allows the surgeon to quickly and accurately target and remove the vein with a small powered surgical device and then visually confirm its complete extraction virtually eliminating the need for repeat surgeries.

This new process makes varicose vein removal more effective and more complete.

The TIPPS technique is a minimally invasive procedure that is done in an outpatient surgery center. The procedure usually takes less than an hour and requires minimal incisions, allowing patients to be virtually pain free within a couple of weeks.

Advantages of the TIPPS technique:

Allows direct visualization of the veins
Involves less operative time
Removes all sizes and shapes of varicose veins
Can remove previously scarred or injected veins
Much less pain and discomfort
Fast and easy recovery
Minimal scarring
Minimal complications
Can be used to treat areas of Venus Ulceration
Can spider veins and varicose veins be prevented?

Spider and varicose veins cannot always be prevented. Wearing support hose may minimize unwanted blood vessels from developing and is often the first approach to try before moving on to other treatments. Weight management and exercising regularly may also be helpful. Eating a high-fiber diet and wearing low-heeled shoes may also help. Sun protection is important to limit the number of unwanted vessels on the face.

Will insurance cover the treatment of varicose veins?

Varicose veins may be covered by insurance. Sometimes laboratory studies or photographs are required by insurance companies before treatment can be started. If the treatment is solely for cosmetic reasons, it may not be covered.