Removing Spider Veins With Laser and Schlerotherapy

removing spider veins 
If you have unsightly spider veins, you can probably thank your grandmother or mother for them.  Spider veins, which are most often found on the thighs, ankles, calves and face, are mostly hereditary.  However, other factors such as hormone and weight changes during pregnancy, extended periods of standing (common among waitresses/hairdressers) and weight gain can also contribute to the formation of spider veins.  Luckily, as you’ll see in this article, you can also thank modern medicine for giving you a way to get rid of them.

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small blood vessels that appear near the surface of the skin and can be either red or blue in color.  They are sometimes a symptom of deeper vein reflux problems – when the blood in the legs is flowing down instead of up for a few seconds after each heartbeat – but this is not always the case.  Spider veins can be very short and red or appear in a sunburst pattern or look like a road map of blue lines.  Most spider veins are painless but some people report a throbbing or burning sensation with larger spider veins.

Can Spider Veins be Prevented?

Unfortunately, heredity and hormones are the biggest cause of spider veins and little can be done to completely prevent them.  You may be able to reduce the number and size of the veins by wearing medical-grade compression stockings.   Compression is especially helpful during pregnancy or during long periods of standing.

What are the Treatment Options for Spider Veins?

– Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is an injection procedure that aims to eliminate spider veins by damaging the walls of the blood vessels.  Widely regarded as the most effective treatment, sclerotherapy has been used since the 1930s.  However, advancements in the chemical make-up of the injected solution have improved dramatically even in the last 10 years.  Many people underwent sclerotherapy in the 1980s and 1990s when saline (sodium chloride) was the dominant sclerant solution only to find the procedure painful and the results disappointing.

Today, doctors primarily use Sotradecol and the recently FDA-approved Polidocanol as the sclerosing solutions of choice.  Using a very tiny needle and a “vein light” that illuminates veins beneath the skin, doctors inject the solution into the veins in precise amounts depending on the size of the vessel.  It is important to first treat the deeper “feeder” veins that contribute the blood flow to the surface veins.  Simply injecting the surface veins without first injecting the incompetent veins beneath will only result in the formation of new spider veins and a waste of your money.  For this reason, it’s important to choose a doctor who also has the ability to utilize ultrasound to guide the needle to deeper veins when necessary.

When the sclerosing solution enters the vein, it reacts with the hemoglobin inside the cells along the walls of the vessel, causing the vein to collapse in on itself and to eventually be reabsorbed by the body.  Some larger veins are treated with “foam” Sclerotherapy, which is simply a way of mixing the chemical solution with air before injecting it to allow it to sit in the vein for a longer period of time. The process is time consuming and depending on the number of veins to be treated, multiple sessions are usually required.

– Lasers (Laser Vein Removal)

The recent advancements in laser technology have meant huge improvements for the treatment of spider veins.  The laser’s energy is attracted to the darker pigment of the vein and uses heat energy to react with and eventually destroy the vein’s structure.

Many types of lasers, and even non-lasers such as Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), can be used but the best results seem to occur with Nd: Yag variety lasers.  However, the larger the vein, the less successful that laser treatment will be.  Many doctors recommend a combination of sclerotherapy and laser treatments; using injections for deeper veins and most surface veins and reserving only those veins that are too small to inject for laser therapy.

When Will I See Results?  How Much Does Spider Vein Treatment Cost?

Most people think that spider veins will disappear immediately following treatment.  Sadly, this is not true.  Veins will look worse before they look better, often darkening in color for up to 6 weeks.  It is important to stay out of the sun throughout your treatment cycle as the sclerosing solution will react with sun and can stain the skin.  It’s equally important to wear custom-fitted compression stockings for two weeks after each treatment.  Compression will hold the veins closed as the chemicals react to destroy the vessel.  In short, spider vein treatment is a good fall and winter procedure.  Full results vary by individual but are most often seen in about 6 months.

Most 30-minute treatment sessions for both sclerotherapy and lasers range from $300-$450.  Sclerotherapy has become a popular offering at many medical spas, but due to the need for precise delivery of the injections and the importance of treating deeper veins for best results, a qualified doctor with a phlebology certification is highly recommended.

Removing Spider Veins with Schlerotherapy


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About Victoria Strander

Writes about the latest beauty procedures. Her articles are available for syndication. Use Contact Page for inquiries.

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