Spider veins are very small, fine red or blue veins located closer to the skin’s surface than varicose veins. They can be found on the legs and face and can look like thin red lines, tree branches or spider webs. Spider veins can cover a small or large area.
Heredity. If you have a family member with prominent veins, you may be at a greater risk for developing them.
Age. As you age, your valves in the veins may weaken and not work as well.
Gender. About half of American women have varicose veins. In general, women are two to three times more likely to develop varicose veins than men. This is due to changes in hormones during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Taking birth control pills may also increase a woman’s risk of developing varicose veins.
Pregnancy. As the fetus grows during pregnancy, the pressure on the veins in the legs increases. Varicose veins that occur during this time usually improve within 3 to 12 months following delivery.
Overweight and obesity. Having extra weight on the body can put additional pressure on the veins.
Prolonged standing or sitting. This is particularly true with legs bent or crossed. When standing or sitting with legs bent or crossed, the veins have to work harder to pump the blood up to the heart.
Before and After Photos
Individual results may vary depending on varicose vein severity, disease progression, skin tone, and number of treatments.
Photos: patients from EASI study
A common way to treat uncomplicated spider and reticular veins is with sclerotherapy. It is a minimally invasive in-office procedure. A chemical is injected into the veins, causing them to collapse. Once that happens, the blood is forced to flow through healthy veins.
Sclerotherapy does not prevent new spider veins and small varicose veins from forming. Some veins are treated more than once, while other veins may need to be injected only once. After sclerotherapy, the injection sites are covered with gauze and tape. Depending on the amount and severity of your veins, you may have to wear compression stockings for two to three days and possibly two to three weeks during the daytime.
The side effects of sclerotherapy are mild and short lasting. They include:
bruises at the site of the injection
brown discoloration of the skin
development of new spider veins
swelling around the ankles
small skin ulcerations
development of “trapped blood”
Most of these last for a few weeks and do not affect the long-term results.
There is no recovery time for sclerotherapy. You can be back to work the same day.
Insurance does not cover sclerotherapy when performed for cosmetic reasons. If you have questions about the cost of the consultation, treatment, or stockings, please call us at 337-484-1400.
Two to four treatments are typically required for best results. In patients with milder cases, one to two treatments will suffice.
Compression stockings may need to be worn after treatment.
The Vein Center of Louisiana offers a free consultation/ultrasound with our specialized vein nurse to determine if sclerotherapy is right for you.
If you have a more serious venous disease, you may need to see one of our physicians.