Varicose and Spider Vein Treatment

Also known as: Endovenous, Sclerotherapy

Varicose veins are superficial veins that bulge due to injury, age, genetics or other factors. Often, larger varicose veins are the result of valves that fail to keep blood flowing toward the heart. Instead, the blood flows downward and pools in veins in the legs, causing the vein walls to stretch until the vein bulges from the skin surface.

Spider veins, the most common vein problem, are broken capillaries. They appear as small red, blue or purple web-like veins on the surface of the skin. Spider veins aren’t harmful, but may be considered unsightly and cause some people to feel self-conscious.

Treatment for varicose and spider veins can be either conservative through the use of compression stockings, elevation of the leg or more corrective through the use of surgical techniques such as vein injections, vein closure or vein removal (stripping).

  • Sclerotherapy is a safe, effective, non-surgical procedure performed by injecting medication into the unwanted spider or small varicose vein to make it close.
  • Endovenous laser treatment/ablation is used for larger varicose veins in the legs. It’s a minimally invasive procedure performed under local anesthesia.
  • Radiofrequency ablation works by transmitting electrical impulses which are converted into heat at selected areas of the vein causing the vein to contract to such a point that the body reabsorbs the venous material.
  • Stripping is a procedure where the vein is tied off and then pulled out through a small incision.

After given a mild sedative and local anesthesia to numb the area, the doctor will insert a small laser fiber, usually through a needle stick in the skin, into the damaged vein around the knee level. With the help of an ultrasound, the doctor guides the fiber to the upper thigh. Pulses of laser light are delivered as the fiber is pulled through the vein, causing it to collapse and seal shut. Benefits of the procedure include:

  • The treatment takes less than an hour and provides quick relief of symptoms.
  • You can return to normal activity sooner than with surgery.
  • There is no scar because the procedure doesn’t require a surgical incision.
  • Vascular lasers target the pigment in blood, so blood vessels are destroyed without affecting surrounding skin.

Sclerotherapy involves injecting medication into the unwanted vein to cause it to close. Bandages create external compression to keep the vein closed and prevent blood flow to it. Within a month, the body absorbs the unused vein and it’s no longer visible. The medication displaces the blood, causes the vein to appear lighter and irritates the lining, causing it to collapse. Bandages create external compression, keep the vein closed and prevent blood from flowing to it. Within a month, the vein is absorbed by the body and disappears.

Sclerotherapy can be performed in a clinic setting and anesthesia isn’t needed. The procedure isn’t painful, but the individual injections can cause a slight burning sensation that lasts a few seconds. The treatment itself takes 20-30 minutes. You’ll see significant improvement in about a month. Some veins require additional treatments, and new varicose or spider veins may form.