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Sclerotherapy vs Laser Treatments for Spider Veins

Spider veins (also called telangiectasias) are pesky, unsightly veins that form just under the skin and are typically red, blue or purple and look like a spider web. They are most commonly found on the legs and face. While they are harmless and don’t cause discomfort or pain, many people want them treated for cosmetic reasons. Thankfully, there are a few treatment options out there to help your patients, and we will be discussing two of them today: Laser treatments and Sclerotherapy.


Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical approach that involves injecting a liquid solution called sclerosant (irritant) into the vein. This solution causes the vein to collapse and dry out. It eventually gets reabsorbed by the body and then disappears. Sclerotherapy has been very effective with patients who experience spider veins, or even varicose veins (larger veins that bulge from the skin’s surface) on the arms and legs.

Sclerotherapy is a good option for your patients who may have a low pain tolerance, as it is generally less painful than laser treatments. It is also a good option for patients with darker skin who may experience some discoloration from lasers. Sclerotherapy tends to be cheaper, work faster, and be more effective than laser treatments on spider veins.

There is minimal downtime involved with this treatment and side effects can include bruising, swelling, or itching, as with any injectable. Patients should expect to wear compression socks or bandages for up to two weeks following the procedure. Multiple treatments may need to be performed to achieve desired results.

Laser Treatments

Laser therapy helps eliminate those unsightly spider veins using an intense beam of light. The vein is destroyed as the laser heats up and over the next 4 to 6 weeks, the veins become reabsorbed by the body. To achieve optimal results, multiple treatments may be required.

Many patients report that laser therapy can be a bit more painful and uncomfortable but is a great option for people who might not like needles or are allergic to the sclerosant. Laser therapy may also be beneficial for veins that are just too small to be treated with sclerotherapy or small veins on the face that cannot be treated with sclerotherapy.

It is important to conduct a detailed consultation, as every patient and every case is different. Both Sclerotherapy and Laser Therapy are great treatments for spider veins, but it just depends on the patient and their specific situation and preferences.