Spider Veins Vs. Varicose Veins

Spider veins, also called telangiectasias, are tiny visible vessels just beneath the skin. They develop most commonly on the face and legs. Varicose veins are distended veins beneath the skin. They may appear as bluish bumps and often cause discomfort. Those with unsightly varicose veins and aching pain often choose to have surgery to remove their varicose veins. As these veins are no longer functional, their presence is not missed by the body. Ask your surgeon about varicose vein treatment. If a patient has both varicose and spider veins, their varicose veins must be treated first. Treating spider veins first is generally futile because, in the presence of varicose veins, they are bound to return soon.

There are two options for spider vein treatment: sclerotherapy and laser. They can be employed independently or in combination.

Sclerotherapy (Spider Vein Injection)

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a liquid agent through a tiny needle directly into your spider veins, causing them to contract and collapse. This procedure is best suited for medium to large spider veins because it relies upon fitting a tiny needle into a tiny vein. The procedure is performed in the office by a plastic surgeon or nurse and is relatively painless. Depending on the number of spider veins, the procedure may require five minutes to one hour. Afterward, you will wear ace bandages or compression hose for three to ten days as recommended by your plastic surgeon. You may resume sedentary activities immediately but should avoid exercise, hot baths and alcohol for two to three days. You should anticipate 50% improvement in spider veins following each sclerotherapy session. Expect that two to six sclerotherapy sessions at 1-2 month intervals may be necessary to achieve your desired results.

Laser Treatment of Spider Veins

This treatment involves the application of a laser to the skin above the spider veins. Laser energy causes the spider veins to coagulate and shrink. Laser therapy is most effective for small and medium size spider veins. Large spider veins respond poorly to laser and are best treated with sclerotherapy. You are likely to experience mild discomfort, similar to having a small rubber band snapped against the skin. Treatments usually do not require sedatives, pain medications, or injections of local anaesthetic. Immediately following treatment, spider veins will be darker and more visible.

An average of three treatments will be required at three-month intervals to produce desired results.  You may wish to start with sclerotherapy because sometimes all veins will be improved after injecting the larger ones. This may reduce the number of veins that need to be treated by laser and minimize your overall cost.

Spider Veins of The Face

A patient with spider veins in the face will usually choose to have laser therapy rather than sclerotherapy. Laser treatment may cause minor bruising that usually improves within a week, but often, recovery is immediate. Two to four treatments may be required to achieve your desired result. If the patient wishes to apply makeup directly following the procedure, they may.

Ask Your Plastic Surgeon about these Potential Complications:

Matting, Discoloration, Skin Death, Swelling.

Expected Duration of Results

Regardless of treatment, you should anticipate the development of new spider veins over time, just as you would if your spider veins had not been treated. Spider vein therapy treats current spider veins but does not prevent new ones.