Spider veins (telangiectasias or “thread veins“) are small blue, purple, or red blood vessels often visible on the legs, ankles or feet. The cause is unknown, but heredity plays a strong role in the development of this condition. People who have varicose veins will often have spider veins too, but spider veins are not always associated with varicose veins. Spider veins are usually painless, but can sometimes cause minor irritation of the skin, such as itching or burning in the area where the spider veins are visible on the skin. Spider veins are progressive, so they usually increase in number over time, and become darker as they progress. There are also certain things that can increase spider veins, such as standing on your feet for prolonged periods of time, pregnancy, and sometimes even minor injuries such as sports injuries or falls.
At Vincent Vein Center, we treat spider veins (also called telangiectasias) with visual sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is the oldest and most common treatment for spider veins on the legs. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a medication into the spider veins using a tiny needle. The medication then irritates the vessels, causing them to spasm immediately, followed by dissolving of the veins over the few weeks after treatment.
The injections may sting or burn a little, but the discomfort typically only lasts for an hour or two after treatment. Some redness and irritation in the treated areas is expected, and will usually last for 24-48 hours after treatment. You may also have some mild itching of the treated areas for a few days after treatment. We will ask you to wear lightweight compression stockings for about 2 weeks after treatment. This improves your response to the treatment. More than one treatment is often required, since all the veins will probably not completely dissolve with the first treatment. Also, since this is a progressive condition, new spider veins will continue to develop over time. This usually requires some maintenance treatments, typically every 2-3 years, depending on how rapidly your spider veins develop over time.