Spider Vein on the Legs
Spider veins are small unsightly dilated blood vessels on the legs that are very common in adult women, much less common in men.
Causes of Spider Veins
- Birth Control Pills
- Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Occupations— that require prolonged standing, such as teaching or hairdressing
- Abnormal Larger Deeper Blood Vessels
- Weight Gain
- Family History
Choices for Treatment of Spider Vein on the Legs
Sclerotherapy— is the injection of a solution into the vein with a tiny needle. The solution alters the vein wall which closes down. The body absorbs the vein and it disappears. Blood flow is shifted from the abnormal vessel to other healthy veins.
Number of Treatments— because each vein often require several injections to disappear, an average patient needs 3-4 treatment sessions at 10 week intervals for 60-90% improvement.
Discomfort— there may be stinging or discomfort at the injection sites at the time of treatment.
Time to See Results—in ten weeks the effects of one injection to an individual vein are noticeable.
Duration of Results— most small veins do not reoccur but new veins may develop and be more resistant to treatment.
Recovery Time/Side Effects— most patients have bruising or darkening at the injection site or along the vein fading over several weeks. This is normal and will fade over the next several weeks.
Laser— although laser treatment can be helpful it is not painless or more effective than Sclerotherapy. Lasers, in general, are less effective and more painful than sclerotherapy. Physicians who are experienced in the treatment of spider veins of the leg most often use injection sclerotherapy, as it is usually the most effective with the least number of treatments.
IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) —works very well for dilated blood vessels, redness, flushing and blushing on the face, neck, chest, arms and the back of the hands. It can be helpful for very tiny blood vessels that sometimes occur after sclerotherapy, but is less effective than sclerotherapy for removing spider vein on the legs.
Possible Side Effects of Spider Vein Removal
Sclerotherapy—very fine red blood vessels may develop at the site of treatment usually disappearing spontaneously. Occasionally as the vein disappears brown pigmentation occurs but usually resolves spontaneously. Because the solution is strong enough to destroy the lining of the vein, if it leaks out of the vein it can damage the skin over the vein. Uncommonly a small sore may develop which may take several weeks to months to heal and may leave a small scar. Very rarely a patient may have an allergic reaction to the medication injected. Sometimes an individual vein develops a superficial clot that may be tender but is not significant medical problem. Deeper phlebitis is a very rare complication.
Laser treatment for spider veins—occasionally pigmentation of the vein, a sore healing with a scar, or a burn to the skin, healing with a scar occurs.
IPL— pigmentation or a burn to the skin healing with a scar may occur if spider veins on the legs are treated.