Spider Veins

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Spider VeinsSpider veins are unsightly red/blue or purple sunburst or web patterns made by small veins. They can appear on the face, arms or legs and are located just below the skin surface. Up to 40% of all females are affected by spider veins and some of these spider veins may be associated with varicose veins.


The cause of spider veins is unclear, for some patients it is familial whilst for others, it develops due to certain risk factors like occupation with prolonged standing, hormonal changes and pregnancy.


Spider veins can be connected to deeper veins called reticular veins. It is important to treat these reticular veins as well in order to achieve good aesthetic results. Spider veins usually have no symptoms but some may grow larger, bleed or even cause itching.


1. Injection Sclerotherapy:

This procedure involves using a fine needle to inject a sclerosant( liquid) into these small veins. The sclerosant damages the lining of the veins and causes it to collapse. The veins and then reabsorbed by the body.

The procedure requires multiple sessions, approximately 6 to 8 weeks apart and possible side effects can be bruising, hyperpigmentation and inflammation. This procedure is performed in the clinic with topical anesthetic cream, takes about 30-45 minutes and there is no downtime. Normal activity can be resumed immediately. About 10-20% of these spider veins may never disappear even after treatment. If the spider veins reappear, it is usually a result of underlying venous reflux and as a courtesy to our patients, we would recommend a thorough assessment of the entire venous system.

Injection sclerotherapy can also be performed after EVLT treatment for varicose veins to improve the aesthetic appearance of the leg, it is safe and effective. Injection sclerotherapy is best for spider veins, reticular veins and some small varicose veins.

2. Laser Treatment:

This is the latest modality for the treatment of spider veins. It is fast, safe, easy and effective. The laser beam heats up the blood in these veins and causes the veins to collapse.

The procedure is performed in the clinic with topical anesthetic cream and takes approximately 30-45 minutes. There is minimal or no pain and no downtime, the patient can resume normal activity immediately. This treatment should be performed 6-8 weeks apart and for best results, avoidance of direct sunlight to the treated area is recommended.

Some possible side effects are inflammation, bruising and hyperpigmentation. This is the best treatment for fine spider veins and reticular veins


Expert Author:

Dr Sanjay Nalachandran, Vein & General Surgery Clinic

Further Reading

The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.