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Spider Veins and their Treatment

Spider and medium-sized veins can be found on the face, neck, chest, abdomen and legs either alone or in association with varicose veins. Spider veins are fine, threadlike, purplish-blue or red veins close to the surface of the skin. Medium-sized veins are blue-green veins generally present along with spider veins. They occur almost exclusively in women. They generally don’t cause symptoms, they do NOT contribute to normal circulation and are considered a cosmetic problem.

Evaluation and treatment

A thorough history and physical including Doppler examination are part of the initial evaluation. If varicose veins are detected, a more formal consultation is required. The objective of treatment is control of your venous disease. Veins that are eliminated with treatment do not return, but new veins may subsequently develop which can also be treated.

What’s done

Cosmetic sclerotherapy is the treatment of medium-sized and spider veins using an agent (sodium tetradecyl sulfate) which is injected into the veins, causing them to close and ultimately disappear. Treatments are approximately 35 minutes, with multiple injections being done at each treatment. Both legs can be treated at the same time. A minimal amount of burning or stinging occurs with injections. We are currently recommending compression hose be worn after each treatment for a determined period of time.

An alternate method of treatment is called “endovenous chemical ablation” and involves both sclerotherapy and the Duplex/Doppler Ultrasound.

What to Expect After Treatment

Immediately following treatment expect to see bruising, red spots, localized swelling and heat sensation. Gradual closure occurs over days to weeks. Treatments are spaced at three to four week intervals, with an average of two to five treatments for most people to achieve complete clearance.

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