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Varicose & Spider Veins

Spider veins are small, thin veins that appear as small clusters of red, blue or purple veins. Spider veins are formed by the dilation of a small group of blood vessels located close to the surface of the skin. Although they can show up anywhere on the body, spider veins are most commonly found on the face and the thighs, calves and ankles.

Although the exact cause of spider veins is unknown, there are some risk factors associated with the development of spider veins. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Estrogen creates a relaxing effect on the vein walls. This may explain why women are more likely to get spider veins than men. The upsurge of hormones at puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy, and hormone replacement therapy all have been connected to the development of spider veins.
  • Age
  • Injury increases the chance of developing spider veins later on at that site, even if the injury occurred early in life.
  • Prolonged periods of standing or flying on an airplane, changes in pressure affects the internal venous system, where the large veins cannot withstand the back pressure and balloon out into incompetent veins.

Varicose veins differ from spider veins in that they tend to bulge and are larger and darker in color. Most commonly, these are caused by the vein “incompetence” where the vein does not properly pump blood upward, so that it allows blood to back-up and cause the vein to dilate.

The most common treatments for veins are sclerotherapy and lasers.

In some cases, surgical treatment may be called for.


Sclerotherapy is injection therapy for spider veins and larger surface reticular veins of the leg. It works by chemically inducing an irritation through injection of a sclerosing solution. This solution causes the veins to lessen after they pass through a healing process in which the treated veins thicken and close. The sensation or feeling experienced during the treatment could be compared to a pin prick. The needles used during the treatments are very small. Serious complications resulting from injection therapy are rare. Infrequently, sclerotherapy could cause hyper pigmentation, ulceration, phlebitis, a small blood clot at the injection site or a scar. The veins successfully treated rarely return, although new ones may appear, so follow up sessions may be required.

Anyone who may be pregnant, has slow wound healing issues (diabetes), or is taking any blood thinning agents (such as Coumadin, Plavix, and Aspirin) should not undergo sclerotherapy.

Typically, the appearance of the treated area improves 50%-90% following the treatments. Results generally begin to be seen starting one week after the injections. Depending on the individual a treatment will take 30 minutes with very little pain associated with it.  Sclerotherapy is considered a cosmetic procedure, therefore it is not covered by medical insurance. Sclerotherapy may be combined with laser treatment and ambulatory phlebectomy to optimize your results.

Laser Vein Treatments:

Today’s new medical lasers provide safe and effective non-surgical treatment options for the removal of spider and varicose veins. Our new, advanced laser treatments allow us to deliver a precise dosage of energy to each vein. During your treatment, light energy is delivered though a special laser handpiece to the targeted vein, in a series of brief pulses. The light energy is absorbed by the blood vessels, but not the surrounding tissue. This heat absorption causes a coagulation of the blood vessel, which is subsequently absorbed by your body.

Cutera’s CoolGlide is a laser spider vein treatment that provides a quick, safe and effective method for removing your small, unsightly veins. This laser spider vein treatment is preferred by many patients since it doesn’t involve painful injections. Instead, Cutera’s CoolGlide delivers pulses of light energy that cause the blood to thicken and destroy the vein. Our laser spider vein treatment is especially amazing because it can treat patients of all skin tones.

Your Recovery

Following your treatment, we will recommend for you to wear support hose or special heavy duty stocking to help keep pressure on the veins. This will help keep the treated veins closed. Most patients resume their normal activities about a day after their treatment. Within a few days the treated veins will begin to fade, and their appearance should steadily diminish as your treatment cycle continues. We may recommend you use special skin care products to improve your results. When all your treatments are completed, you can enjoy your younger-looking, blemish-free skin.

Patients usually need one or two treatments, depending on their needs; everyone is different. The laser spider vein treatment leaves minimal or no bruising and results are visible within two to six weeks for many patients.  Although your final results may not be apparent for several months, most or our patients enjoy the comfort and the look of legs without unsightly red, blue and purple veins. You’ll be showing off those legs in no time!

Is this treatment safe and effective for facial spider veins?

Absolutely. With the Cutera® XEO laser, we are able to tailor the depth and duration of treatment based on the condition of your skin. Because the device has three levels of adjustment, your treatment can be personalized to minimize the effects of the laser on surrounding tissue and produce satisfying results for even the most sensitive skin types.