Spider veins are small groups of tiny blood vessels just under the skin surface that frequently resemble spider webs or tree branches. They are usually red, blue, or purple and are clearly visible, appearing on the thighs, lower legs, and face. Spider veins do not bulge above the skin surface and do not require medical treatment.
Spider vein treatments include sclerotherapy and laser procedures. They are non-invasive or minimally invasive cosmetic procedures. Sclerotherapy is performed by injecting an irritant solution into the spider veins, which damages the walls of the veins and causes them to swell, adhere, and seal shut. The vein then turns into scar tissue and disappears after a few weeks.
Laser procedures deliver heat through the surface of the skin to the vein, sealing the vein walls. The patient may feel a burning sensation during the treatment. Depending on the severity of the vein condition, 2 to 5 treatments lasting 15 to 20 minutes each may be needed. Side effects of laser treatments include redness/swelling and discoloration of the skin, which disappear within days or weeks.