Spider Vein Removal
Spider veins can be treated a number of ways including with laser, intense pulsed light, radio frequency wavelength and with injections of medicine called sclerotherapy. Sometimes a combination of treatments is required to get the best results. The medications that are FDA approved for spider vein injections are Sotradecol and Polidocanol. People often ask if we use saline but it is rarely utilized anymore by any vein practices in this country because of the side effects, pain and complications involved with saline injections.
Our practice also employs the Photoderm® Vasculight™ treatment system, which is a combination of noninvasive intense pulsed light and a separate laser machine. Sclerotherapy is an important adjunct and is frequently the treatment of choice for spider vein removal because the desired result is quicker to achieve and less expensive for most patients. Sclerotherapy is used in over 90% of vein centers specializing in the treatment of spider veins because the results are usually superior and less costly. Dr. Happel will recommend the best treatment plan for your spider veins after discussing all of these options.
Lasers alone are rarely effective for the treatment of spider veins on the legs because lasers cannot close the “root or underlying vein” which are called reticular veins or “feeding” veins. In order to attempt to close a reticular vein with a laser, high energies would be required resulting in a burn of the skin which would eventually scar. Sclerotherapy is usually required to treat these reticular veins which must be closed to obtain the best result.
Insurance companies do not pay for the treatment of spider because their treatment is considered cosmetic. The cost is dependent on the number of spider veins which correlates closely with the time required for each treatment. This is determined by Dr. Happel during your initial consultation after he examines your legs during the initial consultation. Realistic expectations are discussed in great detail at this time. Dr. Happel always performs this initial consultation himself as opposed to being seen by a nurse at the competing vein chains in our city.
Usually multiple treatments are required to improve the appearance of your legs. Because spider veins are usually caused by a genetic condition, after the majority of these small veins are cleared, you will need future touch ups or maintenance to keep your legs free of veins. After this series of initial treatments, your spider veins will slowly disappear and be absorbed by your body. No anesthesia or pain medication is required and the process is effective and safe with little discomfort. After a treatment, you can resume normal activities right away including all types of exercise.
In addition, veins on the face and nose respond extremely well to laser and intense pulsed light treatments. The number of treatments required and the cost is also dependent on the number and density of these small vessels.