How are spider veins treated?

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Ibrahim Moussa, DO
Interventional Cardiology
Spider veins are best treated with sclerotherapy. In this procedure, doctors inject small- and medium-sized varicose veins with a chemical that scars and closes those veins. In a few weeks, treated varicose veins should fade. After the injection, elastic compression bandages are worn for approximately five days. Elastic compression stockings are then worn for an additional five weeks. People are encouraged to perform walking activities as prescribed to maintain blood flow in the leg.
 
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Spider veins are treated with a variety of techniques based on the size and location of the veins; a common method is called injection sclerotherapy. Watch cardiothoracic surgeon David Greuner, MD, describe the various treatment options available.


Edward V. Ross Jr., MD
Dermatology

A number of treatments are available for spider veins. On the face, lasers that specifically target the vessels can greatly reduce the number and size of “spiders.” The treatments are noninvasive and normally do not produce bruising.

For leg veins, sclerotherapy, during which a needle is introduced into the vein, is applied in most cases. The injected solution damages the wall of the vein and, within four to eight weeks, many of the vessels will disappear. Lasers can be used to complement the vessel reduction.

The best way to tackle spider veins is with sclerotherapy. A doctor will inject tiny amounts of a solution (hypertonic saline or sotradechol are among the most popular) that causes the veins to swell shut. About 95 percent of patients see an improvement after one to three sclerotherapy treatments.

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Susan Evans
Dermatology
Treatments for spider veins range from changes in lifestyle to injections to surgery. As far as lifestyle changes; losing weight, walking and taking good care of the skin are all recommended. Other options include wearing supportive hosiery to alleviate the pain, radiofrequency occlusion, surgery, laser treatments and sclerotherapy.

Obviously, surgery is the most invasive treatment and is usually left as a last resort for the larger varicose veins. Radiofrequency occlusion involves inserting a small catheter into the vein that sends energy which causes the wall of the vein to heat, collapse and seal shut.

There are a variety of types of laser treatments. Endovenous laser treatment uses a small laser fiber that is inserted into the vein and uses light pulses to make the vein collapse. This works because the hemoglobin in the blood absorbs the light. Other laser treatment options use heat energy to damage and destroy the veins. The upside for many patients is that these types of treatment do not require any insertion of a needle. However, there can still be some discomfort and sometimes staining, discoloration or blistering occurs.

Finally, sclerotherapy involves the insertion of a solution with a fine needle into the vein. This works by causing irritation to the blood vessel which makes it swell, stick together and causes the blood to clot. Over time, usually a matter of 3 to 6 weeks, the blood vessel becomes scar tissue and fades away. This may take several treatments, but is fairly simple, inexpensive and an out-patient procedure.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are many treatments for spider veins. Learn more about treating spider veins in this video with Dr. Oz.



Continue Learning about Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Large twisted blue or purplish veins visible at the skins surface are known as varicose veins. Any vein in your body can become varicose but it usually occurs in the legs and feet due to the pressure the lower body endures to keep ...

your body upright. It is caused by the weakening of the valves and veins in your legs. Varicose veins are usually hereditary. We are also more prone to get varicose veins as we age. Symptoms include itching, burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs and around the veins. Self-care measures such as exercising, elevating your legs, and wearing compression stockings are used to ease the pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. If these measures dont work, see your doctor to discuss medical treatments that are available to close or remove varicose veins.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.