Women seeking help for unwanted spider leg veins is a common request in my Mississauga Sclerotherapy dermatology practice.  Treating spider leg veins with sclerotherapy was the first cosmetic service I introduced when I opened my clinic.  Why?  Because spider leg veins run in my family!  My grandmother, mom and maternal aunts all had unwanted leg veins.  Genetics are the biggest risk factor for spider leg veins.  And because sclerotherapy works!  Sclerotherapy remains the #1 way to get rid of your spider leg veins.

What causes leg veins?

There are several risk factors for leg veins:

  1. Genetics
  2. Gender:  Women are more likely to develop leg veins
  3. Obesity
  4. Prolonged periods of standing or sitting
  5. Multiple pregnancies
  6. Getting older: spider leg vein risk increases over age 40
  7. Past history of blood clots (known as venous thrombosis)
  8. Past history of leg trauma (which could damage the vein walls or valves)

Spider leg veins usually do not cause discomfort, but can make you feel embarrassed and self-conscious.  Your leg veins typically look best when you get out of bed in the morning, and may become more noticeable with periods of prolonged standing or sitting.  Leg veins may get worse during pregnancy.


How do I get rid of spider veins on my legs?

With sclerotherapy!  This procedure is performed in my office, and is non-surgical, effective and affordable.  Spider leg veins no longer help your venous circulation.  Using a sugar-salt solution, called a sclerosant, I carefully and precisely inject the unwanted veins.  This causes the inner wall of the treated vein to thicken and close.  This process is known as “sclerosis”.  Your body will destroy the sclerosed vein, over an average period of 4-12 weeks.  Due to this healing time, I find sclerotherapy is best performed over the fall, winter and spring months.


Does sclerotherapy really work?

Yes!  Did you know that sclerotherapy treatment for leg veins was invented over 100 years ago?  Sclerotherapy is a safe, effective therapy for unwanted leg veins.  Using a tiny needle, I inject a solution into your unwanted vein.  This solution replaces the blood, and causes the walls of the veins to become inflamed.  Your body will use your natural healing processes to shrink, dissolve and cause the vein to disappear.

I perform all the injectable procedures in my office, including botox and dermal fillers.  During your initial consultation, I will review your medical history to see if sclerotherapy is a good option for you.  You will be standing when I evaluate your veins.   Most patients can expect 60-80% of their unwanted to disappear over a series of treatments.  You may require multiple sessions of sclerotherapy, depending on the number of leg veins you have to be treated.


VTC Before and After

Large varicose veins do not respond well to in-office injections.  If you have large varicose veins, you may be referred to a vascular surgeon for management. 

I recommend you do not shave or wax the day of your sclerotherapy appointment.  Do not apply moisturizer or oil on your legs the morning of treatment.  Bring a pair of shorts to wear during sclerotherapy.  Wear loose fitting pants to return home. 

Does sclerotherapy hurt?

No!  I use a very tiny needle to administer sclerotherapy.  Most patients describe it like a mosquito bite.  No anesthesia is required for this treatment:  I am known for my gentle touch with all injections!  A treatment session lasts 15-20 minutes.  You will leave my office with cotton balls taped to the injection sites, which you will remove 2 hours later.  I recommend you avoid tanning, hot baths or strenuous exercise for a couple days following your sclerotherapy.  Walking is highly recommended after your treatment.

Injecting Sclerotherapy by Dr. Karen

What are the side effects of sclerotherapy?

Most patients have tiny pin prick marks for 7-10 days following sclerotherapy.  Some spider veins will turn darker, and may look like a healing scratch.  Larger veins may bruise.  About one third of patients notice light brown streaks during healing.  This discolouration is temporary for 99% of patients, but may take 4 months or longer to disappear.  Some patients experience temporary mild itching or discomfort along the vein route for a couple days.

Contrary to popular belief, laser therapy does not work well on leg veins.  In fact, I often see unhappy women who have paid for ineffective laser treatments of their leg veins at spas where there is not a qualified physician on staff.

On the other hand, facial veins respond well to laser or Intense Pulsed light treatment, which is available at O’Neill Cosmetic Dermatology.

Please inform Dr. O’Neill if you:

  • Have a history of blood clots or heart disease
  • Take medications or supplements, especially aspirin, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or Aleve, blood thinners, herbal supplements
  • Have allergies (including to tape)
  • Have had previous treatment for leg veins
  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding


How long does sclerotherapy last?

When treated properly, most spider veins do not recur.  Unfortunately, you may develop new leg veins following successful sclerotherapy.  To reduce this risk:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight
  2. Keep moving!  Even walking 3 times a week has been shown to help your legs
  3. Wear support hose if recommended by Dr. O’Neill
  4. Consider an annual maintenance sclerotherapy visit to treat new veins

We know skin!  

Dr. O’Neill can’t wait to help you manage your spider leg veins. 



Dr. O'Neill


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2145 Dunwin Dr., Unit 6, Mississauga, ON L5L 4L9

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