Diminishing Unsightly 'Spider Veins' or Varicose Veins

Today, many plastic surgeons are treating spider veins with sclerotherapy. In this rather simple procedure, veins are injected with a sclerosing solution, which causes them to collapse and fade from view. The procedure may also remedy the bothersome symptoms associated with spider veins, including aching, burning, swelling, and night cramps.

Although this procedure has been used in Europe for more than 50 years, it has only become popular in the United States during the past decade. The introduction of sclerosing agents that are mild enough to be used in small veins has made sclerotherapy predictable and relatively painless. To learn more about how sclerotherapy can help you, simply reach out and set up your consultation at our Mount Airy, Maryland location.

Dr. Guy Cappuccino Logo media

What Are Spider Veins or Varicose Veins?

Spider veins—known in the medical world as telangiectasias or sunburst varicosities—are small, thin veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. Although these super-fine veins are connected with the larger venous system, they are not an essential part of it.

A number of factors contribute to the development of spider veins, including heredity, pregnancy, and other events that cause hormonal shifts, weight gain, occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing, and the use of certain medications.

Before & After

The Difference Between Spider and Varicose Veins

Spider veins usually take on one of three basic patterns. They may appear in a true spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point; they may be arborizing and will resemble tiny branch-like shapes, or they may be simple linear and appear as thin separate lines. Linear spider veins are commonly seen on the inner knee, whereas the arborizing pattern often appears on the outer thigh in a sunburst or cartwheel distribution.

Varicose veins differ from spider veins in a number of ways. Varicose veins are larger—usually more than a quarter-inch in diameter, darker in color, and tend to bulge. Varicose veins are also more likely to cause pain and be related to more serious vein disorders. For some patients, sclerotherapy can be used to treat varicose veins. However, often surgical treatment is necessary for this condition.

Dr. Guy Cappuccino website pattern

The Best Candidates For Endovenous Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Patients of any age may be good candidates for endovenous sclerotherapy for varicose veins, but most fall between the ages of 30 and 60. In some patients, spider veins may become noticeable very early on, in the teen years. For others, the veins may not become obvious until they reach their 40s.

If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may be advised to postpone sclerotherapy treatment. In most cases, spider veins that surface during pregnancy will disappear on their own within three months after the baby is born. Also, because it's not known how sclerosing solutions may affect breast milk, nursing mothers are usually advised to wait until after they have stopped breastfeeding.

Spider veins in men aren't nearly as common as they are in women. Men who do have spider veins often don't consider them to be a cosmetic problem because the veins are usually concealed by hair growth on the leg. However, sclerotherapy is just as effective for men who seek treatment.

Schedule A Consultation

Contact Us
Dr. Guy Cappuccino website Contact us media

What to Expect From Endovenous Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Sclerotherapy can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence, but it's unrealistic to believe that every affected vein will disappear completely as a result of treatment. After each sclerotherapy session, the veins will appear lighter. Two or more sessions are usually required to achieve optimal results.

You should also be aware that the procedure treats only those veins that are currently visible; it does nothing to permanently alter the venous system or prevent new veins from surfacing in the future. Before you decide to have sclerotherapy, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Cappuccino.

Risks Related to Endovenous Sclerotherapy Treatment

Serious medical complications from endovenous sclerotherapy for varicose veins are extremely rare when the procedure is performed by a qualified practitioner. However, they may occur. Risks include the formation of blood clots in the veins, severe inflammation, adverse allergic reactions to the sclerosing solution, and skin injury that could leave a small but permanent scar.

A common cosmetic complication is pigmentation irregularity—brownish splotches on the affected skin that may take months to fade, sometimes up to a year. Another problem that can occur is "telangiectatic matting," in which fine reddish blood vessels appear around the treated area, requiring further injections.

Dr. Guy Cappuccino website Banner media
Dr. Guy Cappuccino  media

Your Consultations with Dr. Guy Cappuccino

During your initial consultation, your legs will be examined. Dr. Cappuccino may draw a simple sketch of your legs, mapping out the areas affected by spider veins or other problems. During the examination, you will be checked for signs of more serious "deep vein" problems, often indicated by swelling, sores, or skin changes at the ankle. A hand-held Doppler ultrasound device is sometimes used to detect any backflow within the venous system.

Dr. Cappuccino will also ask you about any other problems you may have with your legs, such as pain, aching, itching, or tenderness. You will also be asked about your medical history, medications you take, or conditions that would preclude you from having treatment. Individuals with hepatitis, AIDS, or other blood-borne diseases may not be candidates for sclerotherapy. Patients with circulatory problems, heart conditions, or diabetes may also be advised against treatment.

Our Patient-Centric Approach

Your consultations will be the ideal time to ask just about any questions you may have about this procedure, as Dr. Cappuccino will be intent on ensuring that you’re as comfortable and relaxed as possible while you look forward to your results. 

He’ll break down the procedure in detail for you, explain any potential risks, and detail your recovery and aftercare experience as well.

Dr. Guy Cappuccino website Background media

Preparing For The Endovenous Sclerotherapy Procedure

You'll be instructed not to apply any type of moisturizer, sunblock, or oil to your legs on the day of your procedure. You may want to bring shorts to wear during the injections, as well as your physician-prescribed support hose, and slacks to wear home.

When scheduling your procedure, keep in mind that your legs may be bruised or slightly discolored for some weeks afterward. You probably won't be comfortable wearing shorts, a swimsuit, or a mini skirt until after your legs have cleared up a bit.

Dr. Guy Cappuccino Logo media

The Spider Vein Treatment Procedure

A typical endovenous sclerotherapy session is relatively quick, lasting only about 15 to 45 minutes. After changing into shorts, your legs may be photographed for your medical records. You will be asked to lie down on the examination table and the skin over your spider veins will be cleaned with an antiseptic solution. 

Using one hand to stretch the skin taut, Dr. Cappuccino will begin injecting the sclerosing agent into the affected veins. Bright, indirect light and magnification help ensure that the process is completed with maximum precision. Approximately one injection is administered for every inch of spider vein - anywhere from five to 40 injections per treatment session. 

A cotton ball and compression tape will be applied to each area of the leg as it is finished. During the procedure, you may listen to music, read, or just talk to your practitioner. You will be asked to shift positions a few times during the process. As the procedure continues, you will feel small needle sticks and possibly a mild burning sensation. However, the needle used is so thin and the sclerosing solution is so mild that pain is usually minimal.

After Your Treatment

In addition to the compression tape applied during the procedure, a tight-fitting support hose may be prescribed to guard against blood clots and to promote healing. The tape and cotton balls can be removed after 48 hours. However, you may be instructed to wear the support hose for 72 hours or more.

It's not uncommon to experience some cramping in the legs for the first day or two after the injections. This temporary problem usually doesn't require medication. You should be aware that your treated veins will look worse before they begin to look better. When the compression dressings are removed, you will notice bruising and reddish areas at the injection sites. The bruises will diminish within one month. In many cases, there may be some residual brownish pigmentation which may take up to a year to completely fade.

Getting Back to Normal

Although you probably won't want to wear any leg-baring fashions for about two weeks, your activity will not be significantly limited in any other way from sclerotherapy treatment. You will be encouraged to walk to prevent clots from forming in the deep veins of the legs. However, during the period of time to complete your treatment program, prolonged sitting and standing should be avoided, as should squatting, heavy weight lifting, and "pounding" type exercises, including jogging.

A one-month healing interval must pass before you may have your second series of injections in the same site. After each treatment, you will notice further improvement in your legs' appearance.

Dr. Guy Cappuccino website Background media

Your New Look

Most patients are pleased with the difference sclerotherapy makes. The skin of your legs will appear younger, clearer, and more healthy-looking. If you've been wearing long skirts and slacks to hide your spider veins, you'll now be able to broaden your fashion horizons. Often, patients are surprised at the dramatic difference in appearance between a treated leg and an untreated one. When you’re ready to learn more, reach out to us at our Mount Airy location and begin your journey towards clear, gorgeous legs.

Dr. Guy Cappuccino website Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at 301-829-4110 .
Contact Us