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Spider Vein Treatment

Spider vein treatmentAs we grow older, many of us tend to notice small clusters of red, blue or purple veins on our thighs, calves and ankles. These unsightly problems, known as spider veins, are caused by a number of factors, including heredity and pregnancy. Just the sight of them would make us want to cover our legs and become very self-conscious when going out to public places like the beach. Not only can this make legs appear unattractive, bothersome symptoms such as aching, burning, swelling and night cramps are associated with these spider veins.

Spider vein removal, or sclerotherapy, is a procedure designed to permanently remove these spider veins, leaving your legs looking younger and healthier. This involves either delivering intense pulsed light to the veins, or through injections of a sclerosing solution that collapses these veins and causes them to fade away.

Even though spider vein removal has been performed for many years in Europe, only recently has this procedure gained popularity in the United States, becoming quite a trend in cosmetic surgery. In 2011, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, over 237,000 spider vein removal procedures were performed in the United States alone.

With the increasing popularity of various cosmetic surgery procedures, including spider vein removal, it is important that the prospective patient research and understand different issues like what the procedure can and cannot treat, inherent risks, costs, and other factors. Keep in mind, cosmetic surgery is just that – a surgical procedure whose results cannot simply be erased. While the information contained in this website will provide you with a good introduction to spider vein removal, when considering this or any other cosmetic procedure, we recommend that you consult a qualified provider with significant experience. Some important elements you should understand regarding spider vein removal include the following:

Types of Veins

Spider veins: Known medically as telangiectasias or sunburst varicosities, these tiny veins are connected to the larger venous system, but are not an essential part of it, so health risks are not a major factor in spider vein removal. These are small, red, blue, or purple blood vessels that lie close to the skin. Spider veins can appear in a spider-like shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point. They may also appear as tiny-branch like shapes, or appear as linear spider veins.

Varicose veins: These are different from spider veins because they are larger, darker in color, and tend to bulge. Varicose veins are also more likely to cause pain and be related to more serious vein disorders. While sclerotherapy can treat certain cases of varicose veins, surgical treatment is often necessary.

Benefits of Spider Vein Removal

There are many reasons why a person would want to undergo spider vein removal. Even though reasons vary from person to person, the more common include:
  • Enhancing appearance and self-confidence
  • Improving upon appearance of the skin
  • Wanting appearance of younger looking legs
  • Remedying bothersome symptoms associated with spider veins
Be sure to discuss with your doctor the reasons why you are considering spider vein removal.

Who would best Represent an Ideal Candidate for Spider Vein Removal?

Women of any age begin to notice spider veins even in their teen years. Most women who receive treatment are usually between the ages of 30 to 60. Men can also receive this treatment, but it is not much of a cosmetic problem because hair growth usually conceals the spider veins. Ideal candidates for spider vein removal are patients who want to improve the appearance of their legs. A person considering this procedure should have realistic goals and expectations.

Note: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should consider holding off on treatments for spider veins through injection sclerotherapy. That’s because spider veins caused by pregnancy will naturally disappear on their own a few months after the baby is born.

Where do I begin?

Those considering spider vein removal should first find a qualified cosmetic surgeon to perform the procedure. has created an easy and effective way for patients to find a cosmetic surgeon online. For more information please

After finding a qualified practitioner, the patient should schedule a consultation appointment with the doctor. This visit allows the doctor to examine the current state of the patient’s legs. The doctor will check for any signs of more serious vein problems. The doctor will also ask about the patient’s medical history, medications taken, or other conditions that could prohibit treatment. During this consultation, the doctor will explain the procedure in detail, risk, benefits, costs, length of treatment and other factors. This visit also gives the patient a chance to ask the doctor any questions or voice any concerns about the treatment.

How is Spider Vein Removal performed?

Spider veins can be treated through either
laser or injection therapy.

Laser Light Therapy: First the practitioner must identify the veins to be treated. The larger veins are usually treated first. During this procedure, a dosage of intense laser light energy is delivered to each vein. In a series of long or short pulses, the blood vessels absorb the light energy. This causes the blood within the vein to coagulate and close down the vein. Improvement is noticeable after one or two treatments.

Injection Sclerotherapy: Each treatment session lasts about 15 to 45 minutes depending on the condition of the veins. The treatment area is first cleansed with an antiseptic solution. While stretching the skin to keep it taut, the doctor or nurse then injects the sclerosing agent into the spider veins. To ensure precision, bright, indirect light and magnification is used. The spider vein removal involves many injections, one for each inch of spider vein. Anywhere from five to 40 injections may occur during treatment. However pain is minimal, so no anesthesia is used. Patients only feel a slight needle prick.

How Much Pain is Associated with Spider Vein Removal?

Spider vein removal involves a minimal amount of pain. For injection sclerotherapy, the procedure requires no anesthesia. The patient may only feel small needle pricks and possibly a mild burning sensation. During laser light therapy patients only experience a mild burning sensation.

What are The Long-Term Effects of Spider Vein Removal?

As a result of spider vein removal, patient’s legs will look younger, clearer and healthier. This treatment will remove the spider vein permanently, however it does not prevent new spider veins from forming. Further treatments may be necessary to remove those.

What Are the Risks and Limitations of Spider Vein Removal?

Risks are rare in spider vein removal, but can occur. This includes blood clots forming, severe inflammation, and adverse allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent.

For laser light vein therapy, patients may experience a transient, mild burning sensation. Bruising may also occur around the treated area, but usually disappears after the first week.

These risks can be reduced when performed by a qualified practitioner who has adequate training in sclerotherapy.

The most common complication that can occur with both laser light and injection sclerotherapy is pigmentation irregularity, a tan or brownish pigment. This condition eventually fades from the skin.

A limitation of spider vein removal is that this procedure is only designed to remove existing spider veins. This will not prevent future spider veins from forming.

What Are The Typical Costs Associated With Spider Vein Removal?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the national average cost for spider vein removal is $323. Fees within various regions may vary depending on whether the doctor’s practice is in an urban, suburban or rural area. This fee only covers the physician’s costs, and does not include other miscellaneous costs. Also, the fee varies with the type of technique used for treatment. Plus, this fee is only for one treatment -- two or more sessions are usually needed for optimal results. A comprehensive cost figure may be obtained while consulting with the physician. Make sure this figure includes any and all associated costs.

Unfortunately most medical insurance providers do not cover cosmetic surgery procedures. However, most surgeons do offer multiple financing options. We at have created an easy and effective way for patients to finance their spider vein removal treatment online. For more information please

Ten Questions Every Spider Vein Removal Patient Should Ask Their Surgeon

To better educate the patient about spider vein removal, as well as assisting in formulating realistic expectations, it is recommended that the patient look at before and after photographs, speak with previous spider vein removal patients, (you are always welcome to ask your doctor for referrals to previous patients and where to contact them) and get answers to the following questions:
  1. Are the desired results I described realistic?
  2. Where is the spider vein removal performed and how long will it take?
  3. What technique will be most effective for removing my spider veins? Laser light therapy or injection sclerotherapy?
  4. How many times do I have to come in for treatment? And how often?
  5. How much does spider vein removal cost and what other elements factor into that cost (i.e., hospital fee, anesthesia, etc)?
  6. What is the surgeon’s level of experience in performing spider vein removal?
  7. What percentage of patients experience complications with the spider vein removal?
  8. What is the surgeon’s policy in regards to correcting or repeating the procedure if the spider vein removal does not meet agreed upon goals?
  9. What should I expect, post-operatively, in terms of soreness, bruising, activity level and so on?
  10. Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked or suspended?
In addition to the previously mentioned questions, it is important that spider vein removal patients relay to their surgeon information regarding any allergies and serious medical conditions they may have. Furthermore, patients should inform the surgeon of any medications they are taking. Patients should also inform their doctor if they are pregnant, or breastfeeding during the time of treatment.

This site provides information about plastic/cosmetic surgery and is designed to help users make decisions regarding their own treatment options. But medical information is not the same as medical advice--the application of medical treatment to a person's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a qualified medical practitioner if you want professional assurance that our information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation.

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