About Spider Veins

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are tiny veins just under the skin’s surface that resemble a spider web or tree branches. They range in color from red to blue or purple, and are most commonly seen on the outer thighs and lower legs. They can also be seen on the face in some individuals.

Though spider veins can often cause embarrassment for many patients, they generally pose no health risk. Occasionally they can be painful and cause itching and burning. In rare circumstances spider veins can be a source of bleeding and require more immediate attention.

Are spider veins a common condition?

Spider Veins are a very common occurrence as almost 50% of women have them to some degree. The most common cause of spider veins is genetics. Other causes include pregnancy, weight and standing or sitting for long periods of time.

Treatment Options

How are spider veins treated?

Spider veins are typically treated with Sclerotherapy but depending on their size number and distribution may require additional types of treatment.

Sclerotherapy is a procedure where small injections are made into the veins. The injections cause the vessel walls to become damaged and then the body reabsorbs the damaged spider vein much like it would a bruise.

Laser treatment is often used in conjunction with Sclerotherapy to further reduce the visibility of the veins. The laser works by using heat to damage the lining of the veins, causing them to become smaller.

How many treatments will I need?

The average patient requires 3-5 sessions that are spaced 1 month apart. Each procedure takes about 20 minutes with minimal to no discomfort. Compression stockings are worn for 3 days after each treatment to minimize bruising and increase healing time.

What are the complications?

Sclerotherapy is very safe, but with any procedure there are some minor side effects. The most common is mild itching and bruising. This itching resolves in a matter of minutes and the bruising resolves in 1-2 weeks.

Do the treatments hurt?

When doing sclerotherapy, a very small needle is used and many people hardly know they are being injected. The solution is not painful and this makes sclerotherapy a very tolerable procedure. If laser, light or radiofrequency devices are being used, these are hot, quick and with no residual discomfort. If any pain medication is needed after the treatments, Advil, Tylenol or Ibuprofen is all that is required.

How do I know which treatment is right for me?

Each patient’s situation is unique and treatment options will be explained by our experienced doctors. It is important that all patients understand and are comfortable with their treatment decisions.

Midwest Vein and Laser provides free consultation of treatment options to all patients. If you’d like to discuss options for you, we’re happy to answer all of your questions.

Close-up of spider veins
Patient being treated with Sclerotherapy
Patient being treated with Laser Therapy