How are spider veins treated?
A comprehensive treatment will be recommended to you.
This may include a non-invasive doppler testing of your veins done in our office to evaluate where the pressure is originating from and whether the larger and deeper veins are healthy and working well.
We recommend several options to address the appearance of spider veins:
- Sclerotherapy, which consists of injections to remove the veins
- Laser therapy using the CUTERA Excel V®
What are some pros and cons of each method?
Injection sclerotherapy remains the recommended method of choice to remove spider veins by most vein experts. While it is a time-honored and very effective treatment for spider and varicose veins, it may have its limitations with very small red veins particularly around the knee areas. Sclerotherapy tends to be less expensive, and less painful than laser.
Specially if you have darker skin, sclerotherapy may be the better choice, as some lasers can cause permanent discoloration in patients with darker or tanned skin.
Injection sclerotherapy involves injecting a sclerosing solution into the vein that causes it to collapse and shrink. The vein will scar down and fade after a few weeks.
Our vascular specialists use Polidocanol (aethoxysclerol) or sodium tetradecyl sulfate, the two best and most effective liquid sclerosing agents on the market.
To watch a short video of injection sclerotherapy click here
Laser vein therapy is very effective at eliminating the smaller veins after the feeder veins have been treated. It may be the preferred option if you have spider veins on your face or small red veins at the knee, have a fear of needles, or are allergic to the sclerosant chemical used in sclerotherapy. You might also prefer laser therapy if you have patches of visible tiny blood vessels, a condition known as telangiectatic matting. Laser vein therapy is also the treatment of choice for spider veins that are impossible to inject because they are too small.
The CUTERA EXCEL V laser therapy targets the spider veins with a laser beam without harming the tissue in the surrounding area. It delivers pulses of light energy into your vein vessels, which causes the blood within the vein to coagulate, eventually breaking up the vessel and allowing it to be reabsorbed back into your body.
Because spider veins are superficial veins, there is no risk of disrupting your circulatory system in any harmful way.
Which method is better? Injection or Laser Sclerotherapy:
Both methods are quite effective and, in some patients, may actually complement each other. Our experts are well versed in both therapies and will develop a personalized plan for your veins depending on the location and size of your veins as well as your skin type. Using one or both methods, we can target and eliminate your spider veins without resorting to more invasive procedures.
How many treatments will I need?
A series of 3-4 treatment sessions are well-suited for most patients, although fewer veins and small vascular lesions usually disappear after just one treatment.
When I will see results and are there any side effects?
You can start seeing results as soon as 1 week and up to 6 weeks after treatment. Minor bruising and discoloration may occur after injections but tend to resolve over time. After laser vein removal treatments, a slightly raised, red reaction in the treated area is normal and typically resolves in 1-2 days.
Is it safe to have my veins treated?
Complications with sclerotherapy are relatively rare, but if a more serious side effect does occur, you may need additional follow-up treatment.
Common side effects may be found at the injection site and will usually go away within a few short days. These may include:
- Darkened brown discoloration or staining of the skin over the injected area (may take a few months to disappear)
- Other veins appearing if there is increased pressure in the veins
Some side effects may require follow-up treatment:
- Trapped blood in the veins
- Allergic Reaction – An allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent could occur, but this is highly uncommon. This typically happens during your visit and will immediately be addressed by our team.
- Inflammation – Mild to moderate swelling, discomfort and warmth can occur around the injection sites. Ibuprofen will alleviate the pain, or an antibiotic may be required if an infection develops.
- Blood Clot – Drainage of the affected area can remove any formed clots and prevent them from draining into your leg, thus causing deep vein thrombosis or DVT
- Bleeding or oozing from the injection sites
How should I care for my legs after a treatment?
Our dedicated staff will ensure that you have detailed and printed instructions after you undergo your first treatment. While the specific instructions you receive will depend on the severity of your case and number of injections, most after care instructions will include:
- Resume normal activities as quickly as you can. You may shower the same day but do not take a hot bath, get into a sauna, or any other hot environment until you are cleared to do so by our vein specialists.
- Wear your compression stockings per the instructions.
- Use sunblock to cover the treated area if your legs are exposed to the sun.
- Elevate your legs several times throughout the day, per your physician’s instructions.
- Air travel should be avoided for one week.
When should I call if I have any problem?
Call us at any time if you have any concerns or questions regarding your treatment. We would ask you to call immediately If you experience any of the following:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Leg numbness
- High fever
- Worsening swelling after the treatment
- Persistent itching after the first 8 hours
At South Charlotte General and Vascular Surgery, we are committed to help you preserve your legs to protect your lifestyle.
To learn more about eliminating symptomatic or unsightly spider veins, call us at South Charlotte General and Vascular Surgery or book an appointment online with one of our spider vein specialists.