Varicose and Spider Vein Treatment

Also known as: Endovenous, Laser Ablation, Sclerotherapy

Varicose veins are superficial veins that bulge due to injury, age, genetics or other factors. Often, larger varicose veins are the result of valves that fail to keep blood flowing toward the heart. Instead, the blood flows downward and pools in veins in the legs, causing the vein walls to stretch until the vein bulges from the skin surface.

Varicose veins sometimes cause pain, swelling or itching in the leg. Severe varicose veins can affect the health of the skin and lead to eczema, inflammation or open sores.

Spider veins, the most common vein problem, are broken capillaries. They appear as small red, blue or purple web-like veins on the surface of the skin. Spider veins aren’t harmful, but may be considered unsightly and cause some people to feel self-conscious.

Appearance and symptoms

Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin. The most common form of varicose veins progresses downward in either or both of two large veins near the surface of the leg.

Symptoms of varicose veins are easy to recognize. They include:

  • Aching in the legs
  • Swelling of feet and ankles
  • Skin itching
  • Skin ulcers

Symptoms may worsen after standing or sitting for long periods of time. People with varicose veins often do not experience symptoms but may be concerned about the appearance of the veins. Varicose veins develop slowly, but once they start they progress, they do not get better on their own.


Some people may be more likely to develop varicose veins because of their genetics, the aging process, or hormone changes. Varicose veins may also result from conditions that increase the pressure on the leg veins, such as obesity, pregnancy, or having an occupation that requires you to stand for long periods of time. If they occur during pregnancy, it is due to increased pressure from the uterus on the pelvic and leg veins, increased blood volume and changing hormones. 

Varicose veins on the surface of your legs are not associated with dangerous blood clots that can travel to your heart or lungs and cause an obstruction (embolism). Any clot that forms near the surface will generally be small. There may be inflammation but the clot does not seriously threaten your health.


Treatment for varicose and spider veins can be either conservative through the use of compression stockings, elevation of the leg or more corrective through the use of surgical techniques such as vein injections, vein closure or vein removal (stripping).

  • Schelotherapy is a safe, effective, non-surgical procedure performed by injecting medication into the unwanted spider or small varicose vein to make it close. The medication displaces the blood, causes the vein to appear lighter and irritates the lining, causing it to collapse. Bandages create external compression to keep the vein closed and prevent blood flow to it. Within a month, the body absorbs the unused vein and it’s no longer visible.
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment/Ablation is used for larger varicose veins in the legs. It’s a minimally invasive procedure performed under local anesthesia. Doctors insert a small fiber into the damaged vein. And, with the help of an ultrasound, guide the fiber into the upper thigh where laser light pulses cause the vein to collapse and close.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation works by transmitting electrical impulses which are converted into heat at selected areas of the vein causing the vein to contract to such a point that the body reabsorbs the venous material.
  • Stripping is a procedure where the vein is tied off and then pulled out through a small incision.

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Olympia Vascular Surgery

Providence Vein Center - Spokane

North Everett Vascular Surgery