The appearance of spider veins creates distress in many patients. Although these small red or blue blood vessels seldom cause medical problems, their cosmetic impact easily affects a person’s self-confidence. A vein specialist can offer two types of treatment to eliminate spider veins once conservative measures such as making lifestyle changes or wearing compression stockings have failed to satisfy a patient.
How a Vein Specialist Uses Sclerotherapy
This treatment has been around since the 1930s, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Fewer than 10 percent of patients who undergo the procedure experience no response to it. In a single session, doctors estimate that they can get rid of as many as 80 percent of the veins they treat. Sometimes providers combine sclerotherapy with ultrasound to map potential problem veins.
Sclerotherapy is normally an outpatient procedure performed at a vein clinic or a doctor’s office. Specialists who perform it are typically interventional radiologists or vascular surgeons. They consider the technique the gold standard of spider vein treatment.
Physicians eliminate targeted veins by using a fine needle to inject a special foam or liquid called a sclerosing agent. This agent irritates the walls of the vein. This causes the vessel’s walls to scar and the vein to close off and eventually fade from view.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that causes little discomfort. A typical session lasts 30 minutes or less. Most patients return to their normal routines the same day as their appointments, except for activities the physician considers strenuous.
Depending on their size, most spider veins vanish in a matter of several weeks to a few months. Some might require more than one treatment for elimination.
Laser Therapy for Spider Veins
For some patients, laser therapy is an effective treatment for a spider vein problem or for eliminating varicose veins up to 3 mm in diameter. The Office on Women’s Health indicates that this procedure involves sending light bursts through the patient’s skin directly into a targeted vessel.
While this treatment utilizes no incisions or needles, the heat generated by the laser can cause pain, reduced somewhat by cooling. Most patients require as many as five treatments, each lasting around 20 minutes, to eliminate spider veins in their legs before achieving sufficient fading and a satisfactory cosmetic result. Unfortunately, doctors cannot safety treat all skin colors or types with laser technology.
The path to eliminating spider veins begins with a visit to a vein doctor. After taking a medical history and conducting a physical exam, the physician will explain the various treatment options for which the patient is a candidate. The choice of therapy involves both the doctor’s recommendation and patient preference.
Because no treatment for spider veins can keep new vessels from developing, some patients return to a vein clinic periodically for additional treatments.