Hello Sclerotherapy, Goodbye Spider Veins!

“The itsy, bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout…”

This longtime favorite children’s song has a cute little rhyme, but cute and spider hardly ever go together otherwise, do they? It’s certainly not so cute when you discover spider veins developing on your legs and face. Although usually harmless, they can be unattractive and make you feel self-conscious, especially when you’re looking forward to lighter clothes, shorts or skirts this summer!

Spider veins are tiny clusters of enlarged blood vessels that are very, very close to your skin’s surface. Named for their appearance like tiny, red, purple or blue spider webs, these blemishes can appear anywhere on the body (most often on the legs and face), and can strike anyone, at any age (though they tend to become more common as we get a older).

And they aren’t a welcome sight to anyone. But these unpleasant surface veins aren’t going to go away on their own! Fortunately, we can help. There are procedures that destroy pigmentation and redness, like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) therapy. We use IPL to minimize the appearance of some veins, but the most effective treatment for spider veins is sclerotherapy.


In sclerotherapy, we inject the spider veins with a small amount of a solution called a sclerosant. This solution sticks to the walls of these tiny veins, causing irritation and forcing them to collapse. Once these veins collapse, your body will recognize them as damaged tissue, and your natural healing processes will spring into action. Over the course of six- to eight-weeks, your body will break down and reabsorb the collapsed spider veins. As they collapse and reabsorb they will start to fade and eventually disappear.

Sclerotherapy has been around for a long, long time, over 150 years, and it is still one of the most reliably effective and safe treatments for spider veins, and other simple cosmetic vein issues. It’s a pretty quick procedure (usually 45 minutes to an hour), with an easy, short recovery period where you wear mild compression stockings. Typically, two treatment sessions are required to fully eliminate your spider veins.

Side effects from sclerotherapy are usually very mild. You might experience some bruising or irritation as a result of the sclerosant injection. You may also discover that you have a mild allergy to the sclerosant solution, which can cause some minor discomfort.

Unfortunately, there isn’t yet a permanent solution to prevent spider veins. We can treat existing clusters, but that doesn’t mean that new clusters won’t form elsewhere on your legs or face. There are a few things that you can do to reduce the occurrence of spider veins, however, including losing weight, exercising and quitting smoking. Anything that improves blood circulation can help. But even with these precautions, you may need to come back into Azul for periodic follow-up sclerotherapy treatments.

Although spider veins are generally harmless and painless, there are other vein conditions that can cause considerable discomfort. Small varicose veins can often be treated with sclerotherapy, although larger, distended or painful varicose veins need to be treated by a vascular specialist.

Although medical science is constantly making breakthroughs and creating excellent new technologies, sometimes, it really is the tried-and-true procedures like sclerotherapy that remain the most effective. If you are suffering from spider veins or other kinds of visible skin damage, it might be a good idea to have a free consultation with Dr. Flaharty to discuss your path to smoother, healthier-looking skin. To book, you can give us a call at (239) 747-1148. If you’d like more information about all of the surgical, non-surgical and Medical Spa treatments we offer, you can visit our website at www.azulbeauty.com. To your good health!

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