Varicose and spider vein treatments correct abnormal veins that usually develop in the legs and feet. Varicose veins look blue, twisted and bulging, and feel uncomfortable. Spider veins are smaller, closer to the skin surface, and look like small, jagged lines or starbursts. They tend to cause less discomfort and bulging. Nearly half of all adults have some type of lower extremity chronic vein abnormality. The goal of vein treatment is to improve the cosmetic appearance and relieve symptoms. What Are The Treatment Options? Varicose and spider vein treatments include both surgical and nonsurgical procedures. This includes compression stockings, laser therapy, photodynamic therapy, sclerotherapy, and vein surgery to remove or tie off the vein. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion before deciding on a treatment. When to Consider Varicose or Spider Vein Treatment For spider veins, you may want to consider treating them if their cosmetic appearance bothers you. Your doctor may decide that you are a good candidate for spider vein treatment if: You can follow through with the aftercare instructions. You have a positive outlook and realistic expectations for improvement. Conservative management like losing weight, exercising, and wearing compression stockings hasn’t worked. For varicose veins, you may want to consider treating them if their appearance bothers you, and pain and other symptoms are diminishing your quality of life. Your doctor may decide that you are a good candidate for varicose vein treatment if: Your varicose veins are large, protruding or unsightly. A varicose vein has become red, swollen, tender, or warm to the touch. The skin over your varicose veins has changes in texture or color. A varicose vein has started bleeding. You are having symptoms like pain, aching, cramping, tired legs, heaviness, and sores. Conservative management like losing weight, exercising, and wearing compression stockings hasn’t worked. If you decide on surgery, ask if you are a good candidate for minimally invasive techniques. It can involve a faster recovery and less pain than open surgery. Who Is NOT a Good Candidate for Varicose or Spider Vein Treatment? You may not be a good candidate if: You have unrealistic expectations for cosmetic improvement. You are pregnant or bedridden. You are on a blood thinning (anticoagulant) medicine. You have arterial disease in your legs or other vein problems. You have had a blood clot. Your eligibility for treatment will depend on the cause of the clot and where it was. You have a severe illness or infection. What to Expect A doctor performs sclerotherapy with a series of injections. Vein surgery involves a series of tiny cuts or small incisions. Noninvasive treatments, such as laser therapy, do not involve cutting or injections. You may have general, regional or local anesthesia for vein surgery. Anesthesia is not necessary for sclerotherapy. You may or may not need topical anesthesia for noninvasive treatments. You will go home the same day as most vein treatments. For vein surgery, you may need to spend a night in the hospital, depending on your condition. Your doctor will ask you to wear compression stockings after your vein treatment to stabilize your veins and help them heal. You may also need to elevate your legs for a period of time. This means you may need temporary help with household, work, and other daily activities. Gradually, your veins will heal. Full recovery times range from a few days to several weeks. Discoloration will continue to fade in the months following treatment.