Spider Veins

What are Spider Veins

Varicose veins and spider veins are two of the most common vein conditions that people deal with. A varicose vein is large and swollen, with a blue or dark purple colouring. They often look bulging and twisted, and can rise up above the surface of the skin. While varicose veins aren’t usually painful, they can produce an achy or heavy feeling or a burning, throbbing sensation.

A spider vein is similar, but they are smaller in size, can be found closer to the surface of the skin, and are often red or blue. Symptoms include:

  • swelling
  • aching
  • throbbing pain
  • a burning sensation
  • itchiness
  • tingling
  • cramping


Before & After Photos

Frequently asked questions

These vein conditions are commonly found on the legs because the veins in your legs must work against gravity to return blood to your heart so that it can be recirculated. Muscle contractions and elastic vein walls help with the fight against gravity, but as we age, a vein can lose its elasticity. The blood that should be moving toward your heart flows backward as result, and this leads to varicose vein issues. Pregnant women might also experience these conditions, as their circulatory system adapts to support the growing fetus, decreasing blood flow from the legs to the pelvis.

In some cases, our medical team may recommend sclerotherapy to treat spider veins. During sclerotherapy treatment, sodium chloride or other medicated solutions are injected directly into affected veins, irritating the lining of the vessels and causing the vessel walls to stick together. This results in the blood clotting, and the treated veins turning to scar tissue that is naturally removed by the body over time. Used since the 1930s, sclerotherapy is a time-tested vein removal therapy that is still in common practice today.

The best and gold standard treatment for spider veins is laser. Laser vein removal is an easy, fast, and effective way to treat superficial veins Laser therapy has been used in the medicine for more than 30 years. Advances in technology have helped developed many different lasers. The laser uses a focused beam of light. In the treatment of veins, the wavelength of light is targeted to the pigment in the blood. The laser heats up the small vein and destroys it. The laser beam is focused and does not damage the nearby skin tissue. Over a period of four to six weeks, the vein is reabsorbed by the body and disappears.

During laser therapy, light energy is delivered through a small laser hand piece to a targeted vein, in a series of brief pulses. The light energy is absorbed by the lining of the blood vessels and the blood within the blood vessels. The heat generated causes a coagulation (clotting) of the blood, which is subsequently absorbed by the body. The advanced laser treatments allow the delivery of a precise dosage of energy to each blood vessel.

All individuals are evaluated prior to laser therapy. Spider veins do not cause symptoms and are of a cosmetic concern only. For those who have symptoms, further investigation is done to ensure that they do not have varicose veins. Laser therapy is most effective for the very small spider veins and not used to treat large varicose veins

Prior to treatment, the patient’s skin should be thoroughly clean and dry. One should be sure to remove any make-up, creams, oils, topical anesthetic or self tanning products. In addition, the treatment area should not be exposed to sunlight or tanning booth light for at least 2 weeks prior to the procedure. For patients who have had a history of herpes simplex virus and are interested in facial vein removal, prophylactic antiviral therapy may be prescribed. Please consult your Primary Physician BEFORE treatment

Only the very small superficial veins are treated with a laser. Generally no anesthetic is required for the procedure. The laser has a specialized chilled hand piece which acts to cool the surface of the skin while the beam from the laser penetrates the skin. Pulses of light energy are then administered.

Can all my veins be treated with the laser?

No, smaller red/blue spider veins can be treated successfully with LightSheer Duet. Veins larger than 3mm in diameter are most successfully treated with sclerotherapy. Laser vein reduction generally requires up to three treatments for acceptable clearance. Veins that are not successful with laser vein treatment may be treated with sclerotherapy.

The majority of the treated spider veins will disappear within two to three treatments. The treatments can be spaced four to six weeks apart. If new veins appear, additional treatments are required for optimum results. The treatments may be spaced every three to four week intervals. Larger/deeper veins may require sclerotherapy for clearance.

The skin above the veins will have a reddish, cat-scratch appearance. There may be bruising and tenderness to the treated area. Blisters may occur and are common. This generally disappears over the next week. There are also risks for hyper or hypo-pigmentation of the skin. Patients are encouraged to resume all normal activities immediately. Final results may not be apparent for several months. Most patients are satisfied by the results in a very short time.

Patients are advised to bring ice packs to sooth post treatment areas. These tend to stay cooler longer than instant ice packs. Patients should use a lunch cooler to keep ice packs cold during treatment.

Redness often has faded greatly by the next day. It would not be uncommon for the skin to be slightly drier that evening and to require more moisturizing cream. The treated blood vessels, in particular on the legs, may appear slightly more obvious or a bit darker for the next week or two, but this is seldom a major cosmetic problem. Occasionally on the legs, less frequently on the face, there can be isolated superficial bruising or blistering, which generally is a nuisance and resolves within a week or two on the face, or several weeks on the legs without needing any treatment.


After the blood vessels are treated with laser energy, they sometimes swell up slightly, and the body moves in to begin the job of removing the treated vessels. Sometimes portions of the vessels will seal off immediately, and a bit of blood stays behind in the treated vessels, causing temporary red or purple coloration. If this happens, the blood in the vessels is usually reabsorbed along with the vessels themselves by the body over a period of several weeks to a couple of months on the legs, without needing any additional treatment.

Varicose veins are abnormally swollen or enlarged blood vessels caused by a weakening in the vein’s wall. They can be harmful to a patient’s health because they may be associated with the development of one or more of the following conditions: phlebitis or inflamed, tender vein; thrombosis or a clot in the vein; and venous stasis ulcers or open sores from inadequate tissue oxygen and fluid retention.

The exact cause of spider and varicose veins is unknown, although heredity, pregnancy and hormonal influences are believed to be primary factors contributing to both conditions. More than 40 percent of women have some form of varicose conditions, with an increasing incidence of venous disease as one gets older, so that up to 80% of women have some form of venous disease by age 80. Slightly more women than men have varicose and telangiectatic leg veins.

Methods we use to treat

Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are those small red, blue and purple blood vessels that appear most frequently on the face and thighs. Laser Vein Removal is a non-invasive procedure known as VascuLight LaserTreatment. Lasers deliver concentrated light in a specific wavelength of the spectrum. Each wavelength is absorbed by a different target or chromophore, such as pigment, blood, or water. The light pulses heat the blood within the leg vein. The heat of the blood affects the vessel lining, which causes the vessel to constrict and eventually fade from view. This same technology can also be used to remove or reduce unwanted facial veins.

Products & Treatments we offer