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Cosmetic Dermatology

Varicose Spider Vein Treatment

What are varicose and spider veins?

Varicose veins are superficial leg veins that fill with blood and swell creating the characteristic appearance of swollen and twisted thick blue cords. They typically develop on the thighs, around the knees and in the lower leg. Once they develop varicose veins will worsen.  Spider veins are clusters of broken capillaries close to the skin that look like spider webs usually found on the legs but also found on the face.

Both varicose veins and spider veins are cosmetically unappealing, but are usually painless. However, sometimes varicose veins can cause discomfort and create a risk of a blood clot or open sores.

What causes varicose and spider veins?

Healthy veins have one-way valves that open to allow blood flow back to the heart for oxygenation, and close to prevent blood from flowing backwards, after it passes through the valve.  When these valves fail, blood is pulled by gravity and accumulates in the veins creating visible leg veins.  Vein failure is the result of damaged blood vessels.

Who is at risk for varicose and spider veins?

Women, particularly older women, are twice as likely as men to experience varicose and spider veins. More than 50% of women have spider veins, and 90% have a family history. With age the veins lose elasticity and are less efficient at returning blood to the heart. Prolonged sitting and standing, and hormones, pregnancy and obesity increase risk. Spider veins can result from sun damage, hormones and injury.

Varicose vein treatments


Sclerotherapy is a procedure where a special solution is injected into the offending vein causing collapse of the vein walls sealing the vein closed. The sealed vein is then absorbed by the body. Within several weeks, the offending varicose veins will disappear.  However, a series of treatments may be recommended, depending on the number and extent of the vessels to be treated. The procedure is relatively pain free. Sclerotherapy is an excellent option for small varicose veins that are close to the skin’s surface. However, when the varicose veins are large or long and there are multiple veins, Dr. Camp may recommend laser or radiofrequency treatment.

Laser treatment

Laser treatment involves the use heat generated by light energy can treat spider veins and small varicose veins without damaging your skin. The laser will close these veins. Small spider veins can fade, but it may take a few months for larger veins and varicose veins to fade. Sometimes several treatments may be needed to entirely eliminate the offending veins.

Endovenous Ablation

Ultrasound-guided radiofrequency ablation involves the application of heat inside the vein, which seals off the affected veins. The vein walls collapse and close off the vein. Under local anesthetic, a small incision is made to insert the catheter into the vein. The catheter delivers radiofrequency energy into the vein to heat it until the vein walls collapse. There may be some bruising after the procedure. For best results, several treatments may be needed.


Surgery is usually reserved for severe varicose veins. Ambulatory phlebectomy is a procedure where under local anesthetic, your doctor can make a tiny cut in the skin and use a hook to pull out the varicose vein. It usually eliminates the offending vein and other veins take over normal blood flow.

Another procedure called surgical ligation and stripping involves the tying off of large varicose veins and removing them through small incisions.

Minimally invasive treatments and surgical approaches are generally well tolerated, and cause little, if any, complications. 

Spider vein treatments

Sclerotherapy is the gold standard treatment, and one treatment often eliminates the offending veins. Laser therapy is beneficial to treat small and medium sized spider veins, especially on the face. The laser heat closes off the spider veins, which are absorbed by the body and disappear.

At Lucent Dermatology in Beachwood, Ohio, we offer the most advanced vein treatments provided by our skilled, board-certified dermatologists. Spider veins and varicose veins can make you appear to be older than you are. Safe and effective, noninvasive and minimally invasive treatments can restore a more youthful appearance and eliminate the need for long pants and coverup makeup. Schedule a consultation to receive the correct diagnosis and the best options for your needs.

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