About spider veins

Spider veins are small visible veins, typically on the leg, sometimes reminiscent of the lines of a spider’s web or a road map.  They are often associated with larger varicose veins, which may indicate an underlying problem with the circulation in which blood runs “backward” through a vein,  a condition termed venous insufficiency syndrome.  Spider veins are more common in women, are often hereditary and may be made worse by standing for prolonged periods of time. They are often of cosmetic concern, but can also cause discomfort, pain and a feeling of heaviness.

What is the treatment for spider veins?

The two primary treatments for spider veins are sclerotherpay and laser treatment:

In sclerotherapy, the veins are injected with a solution through small needles, which results in the blood vessel collapsing and fibrosing. This improves the cosmetic appearance and may also lessen any associated symptoms such as pain or heaviness in the leg. Several sessions may be required for optimal results. During the sclerotherpay procedure the leg is first slightly elevated, then injected with the sclerosant. Depending on how many vessels are treated the procedure can take as little as five minutes or more than an hour. Side-effects, including cramping, hyperpigmentation, staining (brown pigmentation), ulceration and scarring, can occur if the sclerosant solution gets out of the vessel and into the surrounding tissue. Sometimes fine blood vessels (telangiectasia) will grow around the treatment site.  Sclerosant chemicals include hypertonic saline, polidocanol, and Sodium tetradecyl sulphate.  After the procedure pressure is applied to the area, either with taped cotton balls or with a compression stocking and kept in place for several days.

In laser treatment, a specific wave length of strong light is used to destroy the blood vessel. An Nd:YAG laser is used used for leg vessels. Laser treatment is best used for smaller vessels. Larger vessels are usually better treated with sclerotherapy. Large varicose veins require additional treatment modalities and evaluation.

Additional information on spider veins

Varicose Veins and Spider Veins on e-medicine | Sclerotherapy on DermNet NZ