Cosmetic spider vein sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment that improves the appearance of small, damaged veins on the legs, thighs, and other lower body areas.  While not harmful, spider veins may cause embarrassment and self-consciousness. They are unsightly, weblike venous proliferations that can be prominent in areas such as the ankles, legs, thighs and behind the knees. Patients looking to get rid of these unflattering features can easily do so with a series of sclerotherapy treatments that minimize the appearance, and recurrence, of troublesome spider veins.
The highly effective sclerotherapy method involves the injection of a solution directly into the targeted area, causing venous irritation, collapse, and the eventual elimination of the structure. Board-Certified Vascular Surgeon Dr. David Naar at Premier Vein Clinic in Westlake, OH, gives patients the chance to restore their legs to a youthful, blemish-free appearance. Learn more about this helpful treatment and schedule your personalized consultation by calling us at (440) 641-0433.
- 1 Before and After Photos
- 2 About Spider Veins
- 3 About Sclerotherapy
- 4 Benefits of Spider Vein Sclerotherapy
- 5 Candidates
- 6 Your Consultation with Dr. Naar
- 7 Preparing for Sclerotherapy
- 8 Your Sclerotherapy Procedure
- 9 Recovery
- 10 Results of Spider Vein Therapy
- 11 Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
- 12 Cost of Sclerotherapy in Westlake, OH
- 13 FAQ
- 14 References
Before and After Photos
About Spider Veins
Veins are key vascular structures that enable a consistent, healthy flow of blood back to the heart from all areas of the body. One-way valves inside veins control blood flow to ensure it isn’t directed the wrong way. Venous valves typically consist of two flaps of elastic tissue that open and close. If the valve fails to function correctly, blood flow may be impeded, which can cause blood to pool. Gradually, this can cause the vein to branch out like a spider web near the surface of the skin.
Common Causes of Spider Veins
The causes of spider veins vary, but they can arise as a result of:
- Weight gain and obesity
- Long periods of immobility
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Genetic predispositions
- Prolonged UV light exposure
Are Spider Veins the Same as Varicose Veins?
Although they can appear in the same areas, spider veins are not varicose veins. Sometimes it may be hard to tell the difference between the two. While weakened vein valves cause both, there are some differences. Spider veins are usually much thinner, closer to the skin’s surface, and typically do not signal an underlying health issue. In contrast, varicose veins are more prominent, bulging features that can meander prominently on the surface of the skin. They are usually blueish purple in color and more likely to cause discomfort. Depending on the severity of the condition, varicose veins may also cause itching, bleeding, and swelling. This can be a health concern, as the risk of blood clots and circulation problems in patients with varicose veins tends to be higher.
Vein treatments have a long history, dating as far back as the 4th century B.C. In fact, even Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates mentioned early vein treatments in his writings.  His and other clinical observations through the ages encouraged the study and treatment of spider and varicose veins. Although the basic tenets of vein treatment remain the same, cosmetic sclerotherapy as we know it today is quite different and far more advanced than the treatments of the past. Modern sclerotherapy began more recently, at the start of the 20th century. At this time, chemical agents called sclerosants were developed and used to treat various types of venous disease.
What is Sclerosant?
Sclerosant is a solution of chemicals that can disrupt, irritate, and destroy cell membranes. These agents cause endothelial damage (impaired function of the blood vessel lining) that blocks the vein in a process known as vessel occlusion. These processes subsequently cause the treated vessel to disappear. (3) In sclerotherapy for spider veins, the sclerosant used may be either polidocanol or sotradecol. These substances are detergents that break down the cellular structure of the vein. When injected into the target area, the solution irritates the blood vessel’s inner lining, triggering the body to enact an inflammatory cascade, the body’s complex biological response to cell damage and biotoxic compounds. (4) The swelling shuts off blood flow and causes the vessels to shrink. When this happens, the body automatically absorbs the structures back into the body. Over time, the blood vessels fade away from view, for a more pleasing aesthetic appearance.
Benefits of Spider Vein Sclerotherapy
Spider vein removal with sclerotherapy can lead to a more positive outlook for patients. This procedure:
- Corrects aesthetic imperfections in the legs
- Is a safe, effective spider vein removal technique
- Yields successful results without surgical intervention
- Usually requires multiple sessions
- Provides immediately noticeable results
- Affords more wardrobe freedom to patients
Prospective patients should have a desire to eliminate visible spider veins on the legs through minimally invasive means. They should also understand the limitations of this technique prior to treatment and have realistic expectations. If you feel self-conscious because of your spider veins, a sclerotherapy treatment may benefit you. This method of treatment has helped many patients reduce or eliminate cosmetic venous imperfections, with recorded success rates of up to 90%. (2) To ensure the effectiveness of your sclerotherapy treatment, you must meet some pre-procedure requirements.You may not be a suitable candidate for sclerotherapy if you:
- Have a blood disorder such as anemia
- Have severe arterial disease
- Have an infection that could affect your results
- Have a history of blood clots (e.g. deep vein thrombosis)
- Are currently pregnant or nursing
- Are allergic to sclerosant ingredients
Your Consultation with Dr. Naar
Dr. David Naar is a Board-Certified Vascular Surgeon in the Cleveland area. Inside the consultation room, you will have your chance to tell Dr. Naar about how your spider veins affect your life. He will take the time to examine the areas of concern, noting the vessel location(s), size, and shape. He will then share his expert medical opinion based on your symptoms. If Dr. Naar believes sclerotherapy is a beneficial treatment for your spider veins, our staff will schedule your procedure date.
To arrange your appointment at our Westlake, OH office, please call us directly at (440) 641-0433.
Preparing for Sclerotherapy
At the end of your initial consultation, Dr. Naar will give you a list of tasks to complete before your surgery. Each patient receives personalized instructions and a unique treatment plan. Dr. Naar will direct you to temporarily pause certain medications such as blood thinners until you are fully recovered. He may also ask you to alter your skin care regimen in the area, depending on your circumstances.
For additional preparation tips, and more information about veins and sclerotherapy, please read our informational blog.
Your Sclerotherapy Procedure
Once you are made comfortable in the treatment room, and the area is thoroughly cleaned, Dr. Naar will inject sclerosant into the targeted spider veins using an ultra-fine needle. Upon injection, the solution irritates each vein’s internal lining, causing their structural collapse. The process can take around an hour or more to complete, though the treatment time may increase according to the number of veins you wish to treat. Dr. Naar will apply a compression stocking and massage the treated areas when the procedure is complete.
Since there are no surgical incisions or anesthesia required, you will be free to go immediately after your session ends. Please continue to wear the compression stocking at all times for the first 24 hours.  After treatment, you may feel mild side effects, including mild discomfort, swelling, redness, and itching. These symptoms should resolve within two weeks. However, in this healing period, we ask that you avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting until the area is healed completely. Though some patients may see effective results in just one session, further touch-ups may be required in the coming weeks and months to enhance your results.
Results of Spider Vein Therapy
After recovery, you will begin to see optimal aesthetic results from your sclerotherapy treatment. Patients who previously had only small areas of spider veins should see results within six weeks. And, for those with pronounced veins, outcomes will be apparent in 3-4 months. Patients are welcome to receive additional sclerotherapy treatments to further improve their condition.
Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
Dr. Naar may present several treatment options at your consultation, depending on your diagnosis.
Varicose Vein Treatments
RadioFrequency Ablation and chemical foam ablation can improve the appearance of more prominent, twisted, lumpy veins that can appear in the lower extremities. Apart from their unsightly appearance, varicose veins can cause significant discomfort. If left untreated, symptoms can worsen which may cause more serious medical issues over time.
Cost of Sclerotherapy in Westlake, OH
Each patient will receive a preliminary quote at their initial consultation. The cost of sclerotherapy treatment will depend on the size of the area you wish to treat, and the number of veins treated. Call us directly at (440) 641-0433 to book your consultation and get an estimated price for your sclerotherapy treatment.
When should I seek treatment for spider veins?
If you feel spider veins are causing embarrassment and self-consciousness, it would be beneficial to schedule a consultation with a vein specialist to address your cosmetic needs.
What can sclerotherapy treat?
Sclerotherapy is an effective non-surgical treatment for venous abnormalities such as spider veins, and reticular veins.
- Sandean, D. P., & Winters, R. (2022). Spider Veins. PubMed; StatPearls Publishing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK563218/
- Worthington-Kirsch, R. L. (2005). Injection Sclerotherapy. Seminars in Interventional Radiology, 22(3), 209–217. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3036277/
- Nakano, L. C., Cacione, D. G., Baptista‐Silva, J. C., & Flumignan, R. L. (2017). Treatment for telangiectasias and reticular veins. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2017(7). https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.CD012723
- Chen, L., Deng, H., Cui, H., Fang, J., Zuo, Z., Deng, J., Li, Y., Wang, X., & Zhao, L. (2017). Inflammatory responses and inflammation-associated diseases in organs. Oncotarget, 9(6), 7204–7218. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.23208