Varicose veins and spider veins are some of the most common aesthetic concerns for both men and women. Patients are unhappy with the way these veins make their legs look. Many patients also experience pain and discomfort with their varicose veins. 

While there are certain over-the-counter remedies that claim to resolve these vein issues, they are largely false promises. Varicose and spider vein treatments are often the only way to resolve these veins, reducing their appearance and alleviating symptoms. 

Madison Medispa in Waunakee, WI, provides a number of vein treatment options for both varicose veins and spider veins. Continue reading to learn how these treatments work.

Varicose Veins vs. Spider Veins

Both varicose veins and spider veins are caused by valvular failure within the vein. The reason that most people develop varicose or spider veins is genetic (usually it runs in the family), but female hormones, pregnancies, and trauma (direct damage to a valve) can also play a role.  Unfortunately, it does not really matter why you developed the veins, because one cause is really no better than the others, and once it starts it will most likely slowly get worse under the influence of gravity.  While varicose veins and spider veins are part of the same vein disease spectrum, there are some distinct differences between the two. 

Varicose veins refer to the bulging, rope-like veins that form due to break down of the larger Saphenous leg veins and their branches. When the valves inside these veins break, it allows gravity to start pulling blood back down the vein in the wrong direction and holding it there.  Because varicose veins are larger, they contain more blood, and this results in a higher chance that people with varicose veins will start to have symptoms.  Symptoms from varicose veins may include aching, pain, heaviness, tiredness, fatigue, itching, burning, cramps, restlessness, and swelling.  Because it is a gravity dependent disease, symptoms are typically best in the morning and worse late in the day, correlating with how long the leg has been down. If left untreated some patients will eventually develop areas of bleeding, blood clots, or even open ulcers near their ankles. 

Spider veins refer to the smaller superficial veins that appear directly on the surface of the skin. These veins are often very small and appear blue, red, or purple in color. While they are less likely to cause symptoms because they are smaller, they can still feel tender like a bruise, and if they get extensive enough, can cause restlessness and cramping when you are trying to go to sleep at night.

What Are Vein Treatments?

Vein treatments are procedures that are used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins, resolving many of the symptoms that come with them. Most of the modern treatments are non-invasive procedures that use innovative technology to treat the veins without surgery or the need for general anesthesia.  

There are various vein treatments designed to treat either varicose veins or spider veins. Learn more about the different types of vein treatments and how they work below.

Varicose Vein Treatments

Varicose vein treatments are used to get rid of the large, rope-like veins described above.  These treatments include endovenous thermal ablation, foam sclerotherapy, and microphlebectomy.

Endovenous Thermal Ablation

Endovenous thermal ablation can be performed using either laser fiber or a radiofrequency catheter. In either method of the procedure, the large trunks of the varicose veins are targeted and ablated using heat. These are usually the great saphenous vein, the small saphenous vein, the anterior accessory saphenous vein, and some perforating veins. 

During a thermal ablation procedure, a fiber or catheter is inserted directly into the vein, local anesthesia is placed around the outside of the vein, and laser or radiofrequency energy is used to permanently seal the vein shut. The vein will then scar down into a solid cord, and the remaining cord is dissolved naturally by the body over the next few months.  These procedures are done as an outpatient, take about 1 hour, allow you to be back up and walking immediately after, and are describes as feeling like a minor pulled muscle for about a week.

Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy

Foam sclerotherapy is used to treat the remaining smaller varicose veins branches after thermal ablation takes care of the large trunks. Ultrasound technology is used to visualize which veins need treatment. Once located, a foamed sclerosing solution is injected into the vein to scar it down into a solid cord. Just like the thermal ablation procedures, the body will then dissolve any remnants of the treated veins.

Ambulatory Microphlebectomy

Ambulatory microphlebectomy is used to treat localized large branch veins, and is mainly useful as a quick cosmetic fix. In a microphlebectomy procedure, small incisions are made in the skin just next to the vein under local anesthesia, and the vein is then removed through these incisions. 

Spider Vein Treatments

Spider veins treatments are used for the smaller very superficial veins and some of the medium sized feeder veins.  These treatments include sclerotherapy and surface laser/BBL treatments.


Sclerotherapy is the most useful procedure for treating spider veins in the legs. In a sclerotherapy treatment, a sclerosant is injected into the veins to scar them down and cease blood flow. The body then dissolves the remnants of the vein, and the spider veins are no longer visible.

In most sclerotherapy procedures, the deeper “feeder” veins must be targeted before the surface-level veins. Fiber-optic light is often used to visualize these deep veins and inject them with a sclerosant solution.

Surface Laser and Broadband Light

Surface laser and broadband light treatment is used to treat the smallest spider veins, which are typically red or purple in color. These are usually spider veins that have shown up under the facial skin.

In this procedure, laser light energy is delivered through the skin directly into the small spider veins. This laser energy heats the blood within the veins, which eventually damages the vein wall. Once this occurs, the vein collapses and is dissolved naturally by the body.  

Often times these treatments are more useful for facial veins and less useful for leg veins since they can only treat the most superficial vessels and are not good at targeting deeper feeders.  This is fine in the face where you are above the level of the heart and don’t have to worry about deeper feeders, but below the level of the heart in the legs, where deeper feeders are often the source, sclerotherapy is often the only option.

Vein Treatments at Madison Medispa

Do you struggle with painful varicose veins or unsightly spider veins? Madison Medispa offers a variety of vein treatments to help patients resolve both varicose and spider veins. We provide laser and radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, and microphlebectomy treatments to target vein conditions of all kinds. 

If you are in the Waunakee, WI, area and are looking for varicose vein treatments or spider vein procedures, contact us to book your consultation.

Learn More About Your Vein Treatment Options

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