Spider veins are not particularly harmful or worrisome, but they can definitely interfere with your self-esteem. If you want to finally be able to wear bathing suits and show your ankles without worrying that everyone is looking at your veins, it's time to take control. Here are three common treatments that can be used to remove spider veins.
If you only have only have a few spider veins or yours are on the smaller side, your doctor may recommend laser therapy. This treatment does not involve any incisions or stitches, so the healing process is fairly short. Your doctor may apply a numbing agent to your skin. Once it takes effect, they will shine a special laser on the spider veins. This laser will break and damage the walls of the veins, causing your body to then break down and re-absorb the veins.
You can expect some bruising and skin soreness in the days after laser therapy, but applying ice to the treatment area should help. Some patients require two or three additional treatments in the months that follow in order to completely get rid of their veins.
If you have larger spider veins, your doctor may recommend a treatment called sclerotherapy. This procedure involves injecting a special solution into the veins. This solution causes the veins to close, and then over time, the body re-absorbs them. Most veins may be treated with no anesthetic at all -- you'll just feel a pinch and a slight burning sensation as the chemicals enter your veins. If you have a very sensitive or large spider vein, your doctor may use a numbing cream to make you more comfortable.
Recovering from sclerotherapy takes a bit longer than recovering from laser treatment. You can expect soreness and bruising for at least a week. Many patients also experience itchiness in the treatment area, but it's important not to itch. All but the most severe of veins are usually removed within one treatment.
Surgery is generally only recommended for stubborn spider veins that have not responded to either laser therapy or sclerotherapy. Your doctor, such as Dr. Mackay, Vein & Circulation Specialist, can give you a local anesthetic to numb the entire treatment area, though you will remain awake during surgery. A small incision will be made at either end of the spider vein. Then, the ends of the vein will be stitched closed. Over time, the body will reabsorb the vein material.
Expect to be off your feet for a day or two after surgical removal of the vein. The area will be sore, and you'll need to be on the lookout for signs of infection, like heat and pus at the incision site.