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Sclerotherapy Spider Vein Treatment

Spider Vein Reduction with Birmingham AL Cosmetic Surgeons

In some women, spider veins — the small clusters of red, blue or purple veins that appear on the thighs, calves and ankles — become noticeable at a young age. For others, spider veins do not become obvious until much later. A number of factors may contribute to the development of spider veins in the legs including heredity, hormonal shifts, occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing, pregnancy, and weight fluctuation.

Sclerotherapy is an effective, safe and relatively painless method for reducing unsightly spider veins. A sclerosing solution is injected into each affected vein, causing the veins to collapse and fade. Eliminating spider veins will not harm your circulatory system.

The physicians at Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery have successfully eliminated both spider veins and varicose veins for many women who are pleased to be able to show off their legs again. Vein treatments at our cosmetic center in Birmingham, Alabama include sclerotherapy injections, Laser Spider Vein Therapy and the EVLT Laser for Varicose Veins.

Sclerotherapy Candidates

Spider vein treatment is a good option if:

  • You are bothered by spider veins anywhere on your body.
  • You are committed to following your plastic surgeon's prescribed course of treatment.
  • You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for your spider vein treatment.

Your Sclerotherapy Consultation

By choosing a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) for your sclerotherapy procedure, you can be assured that you are choosing a highly-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon. ASPS Member Surgeons must meet rigorous standards for training, ethics, physician practice and research in plastic surgery.

During your spider vein treatment consultation, be prepared to discuss:

  • Any problems you may have had in the area to be treated, such as pain or previous injuries.
  • Any surgical procedures that have been performed near the area to be treated, including any previous vein treatments.
  • Use of current medications, vitamins, herbal supplements, alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
  • Medical conditions, family history, drug allergies and medical treatments.
  • Your appearance goals.

Your plastic surgeon will also:

  • Evaluate your general health and any pre-existing health conditions or risk factors.
  • Examine your veins in detail.
  • Discuss the likely outcome of spider vein treatment and any risks or potential complications.
  • Discuss your options for eliminating spider veins and recommend a course of treatment.

If leg veins are the problem, your surgeon may examine you for signs of more serious "deep vein" problems, as well as for larger varicose veins. These conditions are often identified by swelling, sores or skin changes at the ankle. If more serious vascular problems are identified, your surgeon may refer you to a different specialist for further evaluation and possible treatment.

Be sure to ask questions at your consultation. It is very important to understand all aspects of your spider vein treatment. It's natural to feel some anxiety, whether preoperative stress or excitement about your anticipated new look. Don't be shy about discussing these feelings with your plastic surgeon.

Sclerotherapy Risks and Safety Information

The decision to have spider vein treatment is extremely personal. You will have to decide if the benefits of sclerotherapy will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

The risks of sclerotherapy include:

  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Change in skin sensation.
  • Infection.
  • Hyperpigmentation.
  • Ulceration.
  • Scarring.
  • Persistent pain.

These risks and others will be fully discussed prior to your consent. It is important that you address all of your questions directly with your plastic surgeon. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure and any risks.

Preparing for Sclerotherapy

In preparing for spider vein treatment, you may be asked to:

  • Avoid taking aspirin, anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements, as they can increase bleeding.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Take certain medications or adjust your current medications.

Spider vein treatment requires no anesthesia and is usually performed in an outpatient setting. More than one treatment session may be required to obtain optimal results.

Sclerotherapy Procedure


Sclerotherapy is the common method of treating spider veins in the legs and ankles. During sclerotherapy treatments, a sclerosing solution is injected into the affected veins. The injection irritates the inside of the vein and over time the vein will collapse and fade from view. If you have multiple spider veins, the treatment will require multiple injections to collapse all the veins.


After treatment, the area may be dressed with compressive tape or stockings or an elastic wrap. The veined area often looks a bit bruised initially. The color slowly fades over the course of a few weeks.

For some people, a bit of brownish discoloration (hyperpigmentation) occurs to the area during the healing process. This hyperpigmentation fades as well, but may take months.

Laser Treatment

Spider veins may also be treated with Laser Vein Therapy. Using this method, an intense beam of light is directed at the spider vein, which obliterates it through the skin. More than one laser session may be needed to obtain the desired results. Laser therapy is sometimes used in combination with sclerotherapy.

Sclerotherapy Recovery

You will be given specific instructions that may include:

  • How to care for your legs following treatment.
  • Medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection.
  • When to follow-up with your plastic surgeon.

The treated sites will appear bruised and you may feel some cramping in your legs for the first day or two after treatment. This discomfort is temporary and usually does not require prescription medication.

You may be instructed to wear support hose to help your legs heal. Although every patient heals at a different rate, most are back to normal activities quickly.

You can expect your spider vein treatment recovery to follow this general time line:

Within the First Week

  • You may be instructed to wear support stockings for 3 to 6 weeks.
  • Avoid squatting, heavy lifting and running.
  • The tape, cotton balls or any other dressings (if used) will be removed from the treated areas when recommended by your plastic surgeon.
  • The treated sites will appear bruised.
  • You will be discouraged from sitting or standing in one place for more than an hour or two.
  • You will be encouraged to walk.

Within a Month

  • The bruises at the treated sites will diminish.
  • You will begin to feel more comfortable wearing leg-baring fashions.
  • You can resume most exercise.
  • One month after the first treatment, spider veins are distinctly lighter, yet still somewhat visible.
  • You will be discouraged from sitting or standing in one place for more than an hour or two.

After 2 months, your spider veins treatment should have completely healed. At this point, you and your plastic surgeon will decide if any additional treatment is necessary.

Sclerotherapy Results

After each spider vein treatment, you will notice improvement of your skin's appearance. However, it is important to realize that new spider veins may surface in the future. You may want to consider further treatment to take care of any new veins that may emerge.

The practice of medicine and surgery is not an exact science. Although good results are expected from sclerotherapy, there is no guarantee. Be sure to discuss with your surgeon the results expected in your case as well as the cost involved.

Sclerotherapy Words to Know

  • Arborizing veins: Veins that resemble tiny, branch-like shapes in a cartwheel pattern, often seen on the outer thigh.
  • Hyfrecation: Spider vein treatment in which the vessels are cauterized.
  • Laser therapy: An intense beam of light passed over the leg to eliminate spider veins.
  • Laser treatment: An intense beam of light directed at the spider vein which obliterates it through the skin.
  • Reticular veins: Larger, darker leg veins that tend to bulge slightly but are not severe enough to require surgical treatment.
  • Sclerotherapy: Sclerosing solution injected into a vein, causing it to collapse and fade from view.
  • Simple linear veins: Veins which appear as thin, separate lines and are commonly seen on the inner knee or on the face.
  • Spider-shaped veins: A group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point.
  • Spider veins: Small clusters of red, blue or purple veins that appear on the skin of the thighs, calves and ankles.
  • Support hose: Special stockings that compress your legs, typically used for varicose veins and post-surgical conditions.
  • Ultrasound: A device that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of organs and systems within the body.
  • Varicose veins: Abnormally swollen or dilated veins.
  • Venous system: Veins.

Procedure Information © American Society of Plastic Surgeons

Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Sclerotherapy at Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery successfully eliminates spider veins with a minimally-invasive skin rejuvenation treatment.

Birmingham, AL Office & Surgery Suites

Hedden & Gunn Plastic Surgery
140 Village Street
Birmingham, AL 35242
205-980-1744 or 800-HeddenMD
American Society of Plastic Surgeons* American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery*
* Dr. William Hedden, Dr. Stephen Gunn
Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery

Contact Us Today

Questions About Skin Procedures?

To find out more about attractive legs with Sclerotherapy spider vein treatment, please contact our Alabama cosmetic center in Birmingham today.

To schedule your consultation at the earliest possible date, please call 205-980-1744.

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