Spider veins are tiny capillaries that have burst and appear as thin red or blue squiggles visible on the skin's surface. Spider veins can occur on the thighs, calves and ankles as well as the face. There are a few non-surgical treatment options for spider veins.
VeinDirectory.org estimates that at least one-third of adult females are affected by spider veins. While generally just a cosmetic concern, untreated spider veins can lead to the spread of more veins and some discomfort.
Sclerotherapy involves an injection of the chemical sclerant, used to collapse and destroy the vein's lining. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that sclerotherapy offers an 80 to 90 percent improvement, and the veins will fade gradually over the following months.
Laser treatment uses laser light to penetrate the skin tissue, and target and dissolve the veins, triggering new cell generation to replace those destroyed. This treatment has minimal recovery time and side effects.
InfoPlasticSurgery.com reports that the cost of sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins ranges from $100 to $400 per session. Laser treatment ranges from $300 to $450 per session, depending on the laser type used.
According to the AAD, spider veins are difficult to prevent, though some preventive methods may help, such as wearing support hosiery, maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise, avoiding high heels, and eating a high-fiber diet. Sun protection is important for preventing veins on the face.
The John Hopkins Cosmetic Center Reports that pulsed dye lasers (PDL) are the most effective for treatment of spider veins. Safe on all ages and skin types, this type of laser targets the blood vessels of the skin without harming the surface tissue.