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What exactly are “spider veins”?

Spider are red, purple, and blue vessels that twist and turn and are easily visible through the skin. They are small-usually less than 1 mm. They affect the capillaries, the body’s smallest blood vessels. Spider veins usually look like a spider’s web or tree branch. Sometimes they appear like bruises that don’t go away.  Spider veins are generally asymptomatic. They typically appear on the legs and face.


Spider veins are treated for cosmetic reasons and treatments are quick, relatively painless and performed in-office with no anesthesia required. The treatment of choice for spider veins on the legs is sclerotherapy. This involves injecting a solution into the veins, causing them to shut down. Once those veins are treated the spider veins are eventually absorbed back into the body.  Compression hose are worn day and night for 2 weeks following treatment.  It can take up to 8 weeks for the body to absorb the treated spider veins so typically treatments are spaced 8 weeks apart.  Depending on how many veins need to be treated, treatment series can run for 2-4 months.  Compression hose can be difficult to wear in the summer months but can feel good in the winter, so now is the time to get your treatment started.


Spider veins can also occur on the face and are seen as tiny red lines often on or around the nose.  Sky Vein & Aesthetics treat those with a device called VeinGogh which used a tiny burst of current to destroy the capillary.  Some lasers can also be used to treat spider veins of the face. Facial treatments are quick and highly successful.


Patients are often unsure as to what type of vein problem they have. Varicose veins are larger than spider veins and can range from 2mm to more than 10 mm in size. They often cause symptoms such as swelling, achiness, and tired, heavy feeling legs.  Larger varicose veins maybe symptomatic and require medical treatments.  Insurance may cover treatment of larger symptomatic varicose veins.  However, not all varicose veins are symptomatic. Smaller varicose veins are often only a cosmetic problem and can be treated with sclerotherapy at the time of spider vein treatment.  Insurance does not cover treatment of spider veins, small varicose veins, or asymptomatic varicose veins.

Dr. Harrison at Sky Vein & Aesthetics is a general surgeon who has treated veins for many years.  He will determine what treatment is appropriate for you and performs treatments in our office. Give us a call or go online at to schedule a consultation and let us get your legs healthy and ready for whatever you want to do.

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