Spider or Starburst Vein Treatment: Sclerotherapy and Laser Surgery by Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist

Spider veins (also known as starburst veins, telangiectasia or venulectasias) are appropriately named. They do can often look like a spider's web on the skin. Spider veins can be red or blue, with a lot of short jagged lines. The ones that are often the subject of vein treatment options are often found on the legs and the facial skin.

With each beat of your heart, arteries carry blood away from the heart to the rest of your body. Veins carry the blood back to the heart. Veins have valves which keep the blood flowing in the right direction towards the heart. But sometimes the valves get weak and the blood basically gets stuck in the vein and collects there. This can result results in spider veins. Spider veins are similar to and varicose veins, but they are smaller and closer to the surface of the skin.

Many things can contribute to the formation of spider veins, including:

  • aging - Aging skin is more likely to develop spider veins.
  • genetics - If family members have spider veins, you're more likely to have them.
  • hormonal changes - Pregnancy, menopause and puberty can all contribute to hormonal changes that increase your risk of spider veins.
  • too much sun exposure - Getting too much sun can cause spider veins to develop, along with other problems such as age spots, wrinkles and skin cancer.

How to treat spider veins

If spider veins are bothering you and you want to be as vein free as possible, you can see a physician specializing in varicose vein treatment and spider vein treatment. There are several treatment options.

Sclerotherapy for spider veins

This is the most common treatment for both spider veins and varicose veins. Spider veins in the leg, face, and other skin surfaces can be treated with sclerotherapy. The doctor injects a solution into the vein that seals the vein shut. This stops the flow of blood and the vein turns into scar tissue. In a few weeks, the vein will fade. You may need more than one treatment. Patients can expect a 50% to 90% improvement. Microsclerotherapy uses special solutions and injection techniques. These procedures do not require anesthesia, and can be done in the doctor's office. You may have side effects, such as stinging or bruising.

Laser surgery for spider veins

New technology in laser treatments can effectively treat spider veins in the legs. Laser surgery sends very strong bursts of light onto the vein. This can makes the vein slowly fade and disappear. Lasers are very direct and accurate. So the proper laser controlled by a skilled doctor will usually only damage the area being treated. Most skin types and colors can be safely treated with lasers.

Laser surgery does not use needles or incisions. But you will feel a very strong heat sensation that can be painful. The procedure will take 15 to 20 minutes in most cases. Depending on the severity of the veins, two to five treatments are generally needed to remove spider veins in the legs. Patients can return to normal activity right after treatment, just as with sclerotherapy. For spider veins larger than 3mm, laser therapy is not very practical. Possible side effects of laser surgery include redness and swelling and discoloration.

Spider vein prevention

Current treatments for varicose veins and spider veins have very high success rates compared to traditional surgical treatments. Over a period of years, however, more spider veins can develop. There are many things you can do. Maintain a healthy weight. Talk to your doctor about compression stockings. Make sure you use sun protection including sunscreens and sunblocks and sun protective clothing.


For more topics, please see our Sitemap


The material found on this site is general in nature and is not intended as medical advice, treatment, or diagnosis for specific patients and/or conditions. This information is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your physician. Before using this site you should read the terms of use and privacy policy.