The most common way to treat spider and small varicose veins is sclerotherapy. This is a simple office procedure. After treatment, you can return to your daily activities right away. For best results, some veins may need to be treated more than once.

What sclerotherapy does

Sclerotherapy causes spider and small varicose veins to disappear over time. This is done by injecting the veins with a chemical that causes them to scar and collapse. Blood is then rerouted to flow only through the healthy veins. Over time, the treated veins go away. Sclerotherapy will not prevent new spider and varicose veins from forming. 

What this treatment involves

Your healthcare provider injects your affected veins using a fine needle. In most cases, this isn’t painful. You may feel a slight burning or stinging. Many veins can be treated in a single session. But some veins may need to be injected more than once. After sclerotherapy, the injection sites are covered with tape and gauze. You may also have to wear bandages or elastic stockings for up to a week.

Closeup of needle inserted into spider vein.

Recovering at home

At first, your legs will most likely be bruised. For a brief time, they may even look worse than they did before treatment. But don’t worry. You can expect to see good results in 6 to 8 weeks. For the best outcome, here are some helpful hints:

  • Wear elastic stockings or bandages as directed.

  • Elevate your legs as instructed to help reduce swelling.

  • Walk each day to increase blood flow.

  • Follow your healthcare provider’s advice about other kinds of exercise.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you notice any of the following:

  • Pain in your legs or feet

  • Bleeding at injection sites

  • Extreme swelling or bruising

  • Fever

  • Chest pain

  • Skin breakdown at the site of the injection

Online Medical Reviewer: Anne Fetterman RN BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Deepak Sudheendra MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Raymond Kent Turley BSN MSN RN
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2022
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