Q: Dr. Kulick, the spider veins on my legs (lower and upper) are progressively getting worse. I’ve noticed some on my face as well – not good! I’ve heard that laser vein treatment could help minimize the appearance of them… how do I know if I’m a good candidate and is the procedure super painful?

A: Unfortunately, spider veins are progressive, as you noted. They usually increase in number and visibility with age. Most of my patients come to me for sclerotherapy (usually for larger vessels on the legs), or laser skin treatment for spider veins (usually on the face) when:

  • They have visible veins on their legs or thighs that have a branching, web like pattern
  • They have a pattern of branching veins on their face that they try to conceal with makeup
  • They feel that spider veins are a sign of aging that they would like to eliminate

Are you a good candidate for sclerotherapy? Most likely! You need to be in good general health, have a positive attitude and realistic expectations! You are not a good candidate if you are pregnant, have a history of blood clots or are taking blood thinners like aspirin.

sclerotherapy to treat spider veins

In terms of pain: Yes, sclerotherapy can be a bit painful. A needle is inserted into the blood vessel and a chemical is injected that irritates the blood vessel wall. Pressure is then applied so that the vessel walls stick together when collapsed. Laser treatment can also be painful. During the procedure, Dr. Kulick will use a handpiece to emit laser light at small to medium-sized blood vessels. The handpiece passes over the skin and the light is absorbed by the blood, causing the vessels to coagulate and be re-incorporated by the body. This feels similar to a rubber band snapping against your skin. There may be skin reddening, bruising and blistering post-treatment, but these side effects subside over a couple of weeks to a couple of months.

If you have further questions regarding sclerotherapy and the other laser treatments we offer, please don’t hesitate to contact my office!

Dr Michael KulickDr. Michael Kulick, MD is a leading board certified plastic surgeon in San Francisco, California. During an initial consultation, he’ll examine your individual anatomy, discuss all your options, and create a unique treatment plan along with any other necessary procedures. If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of plastic surgery and are looking for a qualified cosmetic surgeon, use this online form to request a consultation with Dr. Kulick or call 415-956-2550.