Spider Veins

Spider veins are similar to and often associated with underlying varicose veins, but there are some major differences. Spider veins are smaller in size, beginning as tiny red capillaries that lie close to the surface of the skin and are easily visible. Spider veins are most commonly found on the thighs, calves, ankles or face, where they often become a cosmetic concern. They can also cause physical symptoms ranging from aching, heaviness and itchiness to night cramps.Leg Spider Veins

Not all spider veins require treatment, particularly if they are not causing pain or other physical symptoms. However, some people decide to have them removed for cosmetic reasons, and treating these veins early could prevent worsening symptoms associated with venous reflux disease. There are two available treatments for spider veins:

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a simple, relatively inexpensive and long-established outpatient procedure used primarily to treat cosmetic vein issues like spider veins and small varicose veins. Performed since the 1930s, an estimated 1.7 million patients now undergo sclerotherapy each year in the United States. The procedure uses a powerful sclerosing agent, which is injected directly into small, uncomplicated veins of the lower extremities to make them disappear gradually over a few weeks. Depending on the number of veins to be addressed, a treatment session may last up to 30 minutes and several sessions may be needed for best results. Some discomfort during the procedure is to be expected; possible side effects include a burning or cramping sensation for a few minutes in the area where the injection was made.Sclerotherapy Procedure

Lasers and Light

Lasers and intense pulsed light devices selectively damage or permanently destroy abnormal veins with intense heat energy and are used to treat small spider veins where a needle cannot be used. Bruising of the treatment site is normal and can last for a few weeks. The cost of laser treatment of spider veins usually runs higher than that of sclerotherapy. Complications include burns, skin discoloration and skin necrosis (death).