If you have noticed tiny, colorful, web-like veins on your legs, they are probably spider veins or telangiectasia. Spider veins are dilated capillaries (a small blood vessel) located near the skin’s surface. Although sometimes mistaken for a cosmetic issue, spider veins are part of the spectrum of chronic venous disease along with varicose veins, reticular veins, and true varicosities. Each year, an estimated 150,000 new patients are diagnosed with chronic venous insufficiency, also known as vein disease.
A type of spider vein injection called visual sclerotherapy treatment is often used to treat spider veins. Depending on your individual case, the visual sclerotherapy procedure can be performed independently or in combination with other vein treatments.
At USA Vein Clinics, our experienced vein specialists are available to evaluate your spider veins and make personalized treatment recommendations. We offer a range of minimally invasive, office-based vein treatments that can improve the appearance of visible veins and alleviate painful venous symptoms like leg swelling, cramping, and fatigue. To learn more about visual sclerotherapy, we recommend consulting one of our leading vein specialists.
Visual Sclerotherapy: Spider Vein Injections
Visual sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive, office-based treatment for spider veins located near the surface of the skin. During this non-surgical procedure, a highly skilled vein specialist injects the involved veins with a sclerosant solution. Sclerosants are substances that intentionally cause irritation. The injection results in targeted veins collapsing and sealing closed.
Immediately following visual sclerotherapy treatment, blood flow is rerouted to healthy, surrounding veins. Soon after, your symptoms should improve and your visible veins should fade.
Visual sclerotherapy does not require ultrasound guidance or any other special imaging equipment. In addition, we perform a related vein treatment, called ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, that can sometimes be confused with the visual sclerotherapy procedure. The difference is that ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy uses real-time medical imaging to treat problematic veins that are located deeper within the legs, away from the skin’s surface.
Visual sclerotherapy and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy are not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Benefits of Visual Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins
Visual sclerotherapy treatment offers a range of benefits for your health. After treatment, the vast majority of our patients experience:
Improved symptoms: Perhaps most notably, visual sclerotherapy can alleviate venous symptoms like leg swelling, cramping, itching, and fatigue. Some patients experience almost immediate relief, whereas others notice improvement over the following weeks.
Reduced health risks: The presence of spider veins and other venous issues can place you at increased risk for serious health conditions like venous ulcers and blood clots. Treating spider veins with visual sclerotherapy can help you avoid these potentially dangerous complications.
Better quality of life: We understand that living with painful symptoms due to vein disease can impact mobility and quality of life. Spider vein injections and other forms of vein treatment can help you move around more comfortably and get back to normal activities.
To learn more about the benefits of visual sclerotherapy, talk to a vein specialist.
Side Effects of Visual Sclerotherapy
Visual sclerotherapy treatment is a low-risk procedure that is unlikely to involve any serious complications. Some patients may experience minor, temporary treatment effects including:
- Slight bruising
- Red, raised areas or small sores in the treated area
- Dark spots or lines in your skin
- Tiny red blood vessels
These side effects typically resolve within a few days or weeks. If you are still experiencing them two weeks after treatment, we recommend contacting your vein specialist.
Preparing for Visual Sclerotherapy Treatment
You may be wondering what to expect during visual sclerotherapy. This is one of the reasons why before scheduling your visual sclerotherapy procedure, you will meet with one of our trusted vein specialists.
During your initial consultation, your specialist will ask about your medical history, along with conducting a physical exam. In some cases, we may also perform a leg ultrasound. Once all necessary information is gathered, your doctor will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan.
You should arrive at your initial consultation prepared to discuss:
- Medications (both prescription and over-the-counter), including any herbal supplements
- Existing medical conditions (such as heart disease or diabetes) or recent illnesses, along with any recent surgical procedures
- Previous treatment for spider or varicose veins, as well as treatment results
In the days leading up to your visual sclerotherapy procedure, you may be asked to avoid medications like over-the-counter pain relievers and blood thinners to help reduce the risk of bleeding. On the day of treatment, you should avoid shaving and using lotion on targeted areas. Additionally, we suggest wearing loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment.
A visual sclerotherapy appointment usually takes less than an hour, from start to finish. The actual treatment portion can last between 15 and 30 minutes. Multiple treatment sessions may be necessary to achieve desired results depending on the number, location, and size of veins affected. We recommend talking to your doctor about what to expect for your individual case.
Visual Sclerotherapy Recovery
Most of our patients require little to no downtime after spider vein injections. However, there are a few things that can help aid your recovery. After visual sclerotherapy, we recommend that you:
- Avoid showering for the first 24 hours
- Avoid hot baths or spas for several days
- Avoid strenuous exercise until your doctor gives you clearance
- Wear compression stockings temporarily, as instructed
If your vein specialist recommends wearing compression stockings after treatment, make sure that you are clear on when and for how long you should wear them.
Life After Visual Sclerotherapy Treatment
After visual sclerotherapy, you can leave immediately and return to most normal activities. Most of our patients see treatment results within four to six weeks. In most cases, spider veins do not come back after treatment.
After visual sclerotherapy, there are several steps that you can take to keep your veins healthy. These include:
- Maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI)
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, five days per week
- Eat a healthy, well-rounded diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Quit smoking
- Manage underlying health conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting
Sometimes, despite everyone’s best efforts, spider veins can return. Or, you may develop additional venous issues, such as varicose veins. Fortunately, your vein specialist will monitor you over time closely to help prevent serious venous problems.
Schedule Visual Sclerotherapy Treatment at USA Vein Clinics
Our vein specialists at USA Vein Clinics are experts in performing visual sclerotherapy and other minimally invasive, office-based vein treatments. Additional state-of-the-art vein treatment methods include Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT), ClariVein®, Varithena Vein Treatment, ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, and the VenaSeal™ closure system.
When you choose to schedule visual sclerotherapy treatment at USA Vein Clinics, you can expect:
Convenience: Our spider vein injections are performed in over 100 locations across the country. Visual sclerotherapy usually takes less than an hour, from start to finish. Most patients can leave immediately afterward, drive themselves home, and resume most normal activities.
Comfort: Spider vein injections are minimally invasive which means that most patients experience little discomfort, if any. After treatment, only a small bandage over the injection site is required. Stitches are not necessary.
Safety: Visual sclerotherapy is a low-risk, FDA-approved procedure that has been around for decades. Our trusted vein specialists are highly trained and experienced in performing visual sclerotherapy, varicose vein treatments, and other minimally invasive, outpatient procedures.
Effectiveness: Visual sclerotherapy is highly effective for treating spider veins, with a success rate of 80% to 90%. Multiple treatments are sometimes recommended to achieve desired results. We will be with you every step of the way.
At USA Vein Clinics, we believe that vein treatment should be safe, convenient, and accessible to all. Our vein treatments are usually covered by most major health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid. Please feel free to give us a call at 888.768.3467 to review the details of your individual coverage.
 Robert L Worthington-Kirsch, “Injection Sclerotherapy,” Seminars in interventional radiology (Thieme Medical Publishers, September 2005), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036277/.