Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins in NYC

Unsightly blue to purple marks on your calves and thighs are common phenomena known as spider veins. They are not typically a cause for medical concern, but they can be a cosmetic nuisance. Wall Street Dermatology offers a highly effective procedure called sclerotherapy to reduce the appearance of spider veins.

Sclerotherapy is one of the most efficient and quickest options available for anyone suffering from spider veins. With a few simple treatment sessions, spider veins can be reduced and eliminated.

Sclerotherapy for spider veins has been in use since the 1930s and is considered the first line treatment for spider veins.   It successfully reduces or removes spider veins in the majority of patients and is both safe and fast—depending on the number of spider veins targeted; each session will take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour,  and involves precise, painless injections into each visible spider vein.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins in and of itself are completely harmless. Though they may appear alarming, rest assured that there are no lasting consequences to having them (aside from its unsightly appearance), and no lasting consequences from removing them (other than eliminating its unsightly appearance).

Spider veins are little more than accessory veins that course closer to the surface of the skin. They often appear as red, blue, or purple marks on the legs or upper abdomen that spread out in a branching pattern. If you have them, chances are you have experienced no more harm than seeing them, so there is little to worry about.

What Is Sclerotherapy?

First used in the 17th century, sclerotherapy is the most effective way to reduce the appearance of varicose veins, oftentimes more so than laser treatments.  The procedure, unlike surgical vein removal, is also minimally invasive.  Precise injections of a solution called a sclerosant, using a very fine needle that cannulates the vein, is delivered across the affected areas.  When sufficient sclerosant is delivered into the vein, it serves to damage and scar down the blood vessel wall, causing the vein to disintegrate.  Blood is no longer diverted into these accessory vessels and is routed back to its main circulatory branches. In a few short weeks, the body will absorb the affected blood vessel, and the spider veins will disappear.

There are a variety of different sclerosants that are used in sclerotherapy.  Hypertonic saline, sodium tetradecyl sulfate, and polidocanol are the most commonly used sclerosants.  Both hypertonic saline and Sodium tetradecyl sulfate, while inexpensive, results in more painful injections and has a higher risk of tissue necrosis if the sclerosant diffuses into the adjacent tissue.  Polidocanol (Asclera) is more expensive, but is much less painful and has a lower risk of necrosis of the skin if the solution diffuses into its surroundings.

What Do the Procedure and Recovery Involve?

During the consultation, Dr. Tzu will review your medical history to determine whether you are an appropriate candidate for sclerotherapy and discuss your personal goals and expectations.  Preoperative preparation and postoperative care will also be reviewed to prepare you for the day of the procedure.

Despite the numerous needle injections, the procedure can be relatively painless when performed skillfully with the right sclerosant solution. Please ask our team if you have concerns about pain or would like more information about this procedure.  We will assess your veins to determine the severity of the issue and plan the best course of treatment.

The length of the actual procedure can vary, depending on the number of spider veins to be targeted.  Treatment sessions can be as short as 5 minutes for one spider vein or as long as 1 hour when there are extensive spider/varicose veins present. We understand that our customers are busy people, and we're committed to helping you get back to your routine and schedule as soon as possible.

We typically recommend that patients bring comfortable walking shoes and dress in comfortable clothing on the day of the procedure.  We also advise bringing a pair of compression stockings to wear post-procedure. Hot baths/saunas and direct sun exposure to the treatment areas should be avoided.

In studies, sclerotherapy for spider veins is between 50-80 percent effective in permanently reducing varicose and spider veins with each injection. It may take several weeks to months to see peak results depending upon the size and extent of the varicosities.  Smaller veins will generally exhibit more marked improvement than larger veins.

Common side effects of sclerotherapy include bruising, mild discomfort, redness, swelling, and skin irritation. Skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation may also develop, but this is normal and will usually disappear over several days. ` Most side effects are temporary but let us know if you feel any symptoms last longer than usual.

Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins in NYC

Sclerotherapy for spider veins is the best option available for removing unattractive spider veins. It is relatively painless, works quickly, and puts you back on your feet in the least amount of time with very few side effects. It is not the only option, but it is the most effective one and highly recommended for its lasting effects.

At Wall Street Dermatology, we're happy to discuss all treatment options available to you. Whether it is sclerotherapy for veins or laser treatment of blood vessels, we're confident we can find the best solution for you.

Though spider veins are not dangerous, we at Wall Street Dermatology understand that spider veins are usually not desired.  With a few simple procedures, we'll help you get back to feeling more like yourself. Consult with our quality doctors for the best treatment options available.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many sessions of sclerotherapy is needed for spider veins?

The number of treatment sessions really depends on the severity of the spider veins. Although improvement will be visible with one session, three treatments are recommended on average for the best outcome.

How long does it take for spider veins to disappear after sclerotherapy?

This can take weeks to months, depending on the size and location of the vessels.

Can spider veins get worse after sclerotherapy?

Typically, spider veins get better with sclerotherapy. Occasionally, there are some vessels that simply do not respond, perhaps due to underlying anatomy. It is extremely rare for spider veins to worsen after sclerotherapy. Usually, the “worsening” after sclerotherapy refers to the bruising and hyperpigmentation that occurs temporarily after treatment.

Is sclerotherapy for spider veins painful?

When sclerotherapy is performed skillfully, it is relatively painless.

Can I go in the sun after sclerotherapy?

We recommend avoidance of direct sun exposure to treated areas to prevent worsening of hyperpigmentation.

How expensive is sclerotherapy?

Costs vary, depending on whether one small vessel is targeted versus an extensive arrangement of varicosities on both legs. The difficulty and length of the procedure will determine the final cost of the procedure.

What are the side effects of sclerotherapy?

Common side effects of sclerotherapy include bruising, mild discomfort, redness, swelling, and skin irritation. Skin discoloration or hyperpigmentation may also develop, but this is normal and will usually disappear over several days.  Occasionally a superficial blood clot can form, but this can be removed via an incision and drainage procedure.

Rare but more serious side effects include serious allergic reactions and stroke-like symptoms.

Dr. Julia Tzu

Dr. Julia Tzu is a double board certified dermatologist who specializes in Mohs and reconstructive skin surgery, laser surgery, and cosmetic dermatology. She is one very few dermatologists in the world who has devoted additional years of formalized fellowship training in both Mohs surgery as well as dermatopathology, making her amongst the most highly trained and elite dermatologists.


Wall Street Dermatology: Julia Tzu, MD
Phone: 212-931-0538
65 Broadway, Ste 904
New York, NY 10006


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NYC Cosmetic Dermatologist Serving Manhattan, New York City, Downtown Manhattan, Financial District and the surrounding area.