Spider Veins

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are veins that are close to the skin’s surface and may look thin and wispy like spider webs or thick and squiggly like branches. Similar to varicose veins but smaller and thinner. We tend to think of spider veins as a cosmetic problem, even medical professionals and even vascular surgeons do. Many times there is increased pressure in the venous system and thus underlying medical cause that has created the spider veins. If you have spider veins along with any other symptom of vein disease (heaviness, stinging, burning, throbbing, swollen ankles, itchy burning legs, aching, numbness, etc.) then you may have an underlying condition. An evaluation by The Vein Center of Arizona and a high-quality venous ultrasound test can establish if spider veins are cosmetic in nature or a result of venous insufficiency. This test also can assist in getting your insurance to pay for treatment.

Spider veins are tiny blue, red, and purple web-like veins on the surface of the skin. They are broken capillaries, often associated with larger reticular veins. Though they are smaller than most varicose veins, they are often easier to notice due to their proximity to the skin surface. They are found most often in the legs, though they can pop up on the chest and face s well.

Like varicose veins, spider veins occur more often in women. Risk factors include pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations, obesity, and occupations that involve standing for long periods of time. Genetics also plays a role in the development of spider veins, as they can run in the family.

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What are the symptoms?

Spider veins are mainly considered a cosmetic issue, though they can be a sign of other circulatory problems like chronic venous insufficiency. Their unsightly appearance can also have an impact on your confidence and discourage you from engaging in activities that reveal your legs.
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How are they treated?

Quick, effective outpatient visits treat the root cause, not just the symptoms.


We treat vein issues using a stepwise approach. We start by identifying the problem with an ultrasound study of the legs. Once the bad veins are identified, we discuss the various treatment options and tell you which ones we think are the best for you.
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Sclerotherapy is the gold standard treatment for spider veins and superficial small varicose veins. It involves the injection of a solution into a targeted spider vein or reticular vein through a very fine needle. The chemical collapses the blood vessel within a few seconds and takes effect right away. The natural healing process of the body then re-routes the blood flow to healthy veins and the spider vein fades from view over a period of several weeks. Typically it takes 2-3 treatment sessions for gradual fading of the treated veins. Graduated compression stockings are recommended for most patients for up to a week after treatment.

The Vein Center of Arizona offers patients a wide variety of treatment options:

Comprehensive Treatment Plan

Developing a comprehensive treatment plan follows a thorough assessment. The assessment will normally consist of a review of your venous symptoms, a visual inspection of your problems and a thorough review of your history. The assessment completed by Dr. Paul Larson, supplemented by the diagnostic ultrasound if indicated by a registered vascular technologist will aid in the process.

Conservative Management

Before seeking out a surgical or non-surgical treatment for varicose veins and other uncomfortable vein disorders, doctors may recommend conservative management techniques for patients. Conservative treatments may be required by an insurance company before other treatments can be considered.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area.

Endovenous Laser Treatment

Endovenous Laser Treatment for the elimination of unhealthy varicose veins is the gold-standard for minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins. EVLT uses laser energy, which is a highly concentrated beam of light. They work by delivering this light energy to the tissue that is targeted with extreme precision, so as not to damage the surrounding tissue.


Sclerotherapy is the primary treatment for spider veins and small superficial varicose veins that usually appear on the legs. They less commonly appear on other parts of the body. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical solution into a targeted spider vein or a reticular vein through a very fine needle.

Foam Sclerotherapy

Foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive technique for men and women to eliminate unsightly varicose veins and spider veins. The procedure involves injecting a foam sclerosant in a blood vessel to close it. The blood reroutes itself through healthy veins, restoring more normal blood flow.

Ambulatory Micro-Phlebectomy

Also known as ambulatory phlebectomy, this is a procedure that can be performed in the office and is commonly performed at the time of endovenous ablation. The procedure is intended to remove larger bulging varicose veins near the skin surface.

Real Results.

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“I can now endure intense cardio and leg workouts, and it does feel like I’ve been given a new set of legs.”

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