Spider veins are a common problem for women, with unsightly clusters of red, blue, or purple veins appearing on the thighs, calves, and ankles of nearly half of adult females. At The Plastic Surgery Group of Rochester, we offer several options to eliminate spider veins, including sclerotherapy and laser treatment.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are the tiny groups of webbing that can be seen through the skin. They are most often found on the legs and face, though they can appear anywhere on the body. These dilated veins are generally a cosmetic problem only. They do not turn in to varicose veins, nor do they present health concerns. However, many people do choose to have spider veins removed to improve their appearance and sense of self-confidence. At our office, we treat spider veins found on the face.
What Causes Spider Veins?
No particular cause has been identified as a trigger for spider veins. Like varicose veins, there does seem to be pressure involvement, the blood flow from the lower extremities isn’t progressing as thoroughly as it should. Studies suggest that factors such as sun damage, hormones, aging, pregnancy, and heredity may increase a person’s risk of developing these webs of veins.
What Is Spider Vein Removal?
To have spider veins “removed” doesn’t mean that these structures are literally extracted from their place in the body. Spider vein removal works in concert with the body’s natural mechanisms. Using a chemical agent or laser energy, we target these vessels to prompt them to close.
Sclerotherapy is one of the longest-standing vein treatments. Used for both spider veins and smaller-sized varicose veins, this technique works by introducing a sclerosing agent, a prescribed medication, into unwanted veins. The sclerosing agent causes slight irritation within the inner wall of each treated vein, causing it to close. When the vein closes, blood reroutes to a nearby vessel, and the closed vein is gradually absorbed.
Sclerotherapy is conducted in the office within about an hour, depending on the number of veins being treated. Because the needle is tiny and there are no nerves in the veins, this treatment can be conducted without anesthetic.
Laser Spider Vein Removal
Laser vein treatment is also conducted in the office with no need for anesthetic. This method of treatment is ideal for small to medium-sized blood vessels, making it appropriate for most people who are interested in spider vein removal. Before laser vein treatment, we provide protective eye shields to wear throughout the procedure. A small handpiece is then passed over the skin while bursts of laser energy are emitted through the tip. This energy permeates the surface of the skin to land within visible veins. Here energy transforms to heat, causing blood to coagulate and the vein to close.
How soon after treatment will my spider veins go away?
The effects of a sclerosing agent or laser energy absorb into treated veins and gradually close them. The rate at which veins fade away varies among different people. Sometimes, results appear within a week or two and continue to improve. The entire process can take a month or more.
I had a surgery does by Dr. Davenport and he was very kind and made everything easy. It was clear that he knew what he was doing. I love the way my surgery turned out and I would highly recommend him. The office staff is always very friendly.” – Gillian G.
How Many Treatments Are Needed To Eliminate Spider Veins?
It is possible to achieve significant improvement from just one vein treatment. It is important to note that repeat treatments are sometimes necessary to entirely eliminate visible veins. If needed, retreatment may be scheduled six weeks or more after the initial procedure. Also, sclerotherapy and laser vein therapy can get rid of existing veins but do not prevent the development of new visible veins in the future. Lifestyle habits that involve moving periodically throughout the day can support long-term vein health and reduce the risk of recurrence. Your Doctor will discuss your number of needed treatments during your consultation.
Are There Any Side Effects After Spider Vein Removal Treatment?
The most common side effects of spider vein treatment are mild and temporary. These include bruising, skin discoloration, itching, and tenderness. Laser vein treatment could produce redness and mild blistering that subside over a few days. Patients are encouraged to wear compression stockings for at least a few weeks after vein treatment to minimize these side effects and promote vein closure.