Vein Conditions

Spider Veins


Spider Veins

Your body is a beautiful structure consisting of organs and tissues, but a vital vessel is needed to ensure your body functions swimmingly. Your organs and tissues function correctly because of your veins. Veins are throughout your body, from your head to your toes, and they help facilitate the movement of blood, ensuring every part of your body receives the proper amount of oxygen and nutrients. However, your veins can develop into a cosmetic concern. Vein valves are in place to keep your blood from flowing backward, but sometimes these valves can become damaged, resulting in blood pooling. When this occurs, your veins become more vibrant and noticeable. You may have these unsightly red, purple and blue squiggly veins, known as spider veins. If so, there are a number of treatments out there that can correct them.

Tennessee Vein Center, located just outside Knoxville, offers comprehensive treatment options for spider veins as well as the most difficult varicose veins. With multiple treatment modalities to choose from, we can comprehensively treat a variety of patient concerns. We are the only vein clinic in Alcoa, TN, that can thoroughly treat problematic spider veins with the Cutera® Excel V™ laser system or traditional sclerotherapy.

Spider Veins

What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins, medically called telangiectasias, are abnormally functioning veins that appear close to the surface of the skin. Unwanted reticular veins, those larger blue or green veins, are also very common and can in many instances contribute to worsening spider veins. The legs, face, and chest are all common places where these veins occur. Spider vein treatment in most cases can safely, and efficiently eliminate those veins and improve your appearance.

Spider veins form because of various factors that lead to vein valve damage. Your veins are constantly pushing gallons of blood throughout your body day-in and day-out. When blood reaches the lower half of your body, more significant energy output is required as it works against gravity’s natural forces. The movement of the muscles in your legs is what supplements this needed energy. However, suppose your leg muscles don’t move enough and are inactive essentially. In that case, vein valves can become weakened or damaged as they don’t have the necessary energy to prevent blood from flowing backward. Over time, blood begins to pool, causing spider veins to form. While spider veins can develop on various parts of your body, they are especially vulnerable to forming on your legs for this reason.

Difference Between Venous Disorders

Spider Veins

Spider Veins

  • Larger than 2,5mm in diameter
  • Usually have a dark-blue or purple
  • Veins often protrude above the surface of the skin and can lead to pain, burning and spasms
Reticular Veins

Reticular Veins

  • Size about 2mm in diameter
  • Color varies from green-blue or purple
  • Often causes burning and itching
Varicose Veins

Varicose Veins

  • Measuring about 1-1, 5mm.
  • Have a pink, red or purple color
  • Sometimes accompanied by pain or discomfort in the affected area

What factors contribute to Spider Veins?

While doctors do not fully understand the precise reason for spider veins developing, several factors can ultimately determine if you can develop them. Genetics and the environment can play large roles in spider veins developing. Factors that can influence spider veins forming include:

  • Obesity – too much weight can put pressure on your vein valves and walls, especially in your legs.
  • Sedentary Lifestyle – Sitting too long in front of a computer or standing for long periods at a time can lead to spider veins. It is best to stretch your legs regularly if this applies to you.
  • Age – Over time, blood vessels weaken, which can lead to spider veins appearing.
  • Hormonal Changes – It is known that estrogen found in either birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy can affect the vein walls.
  • Pregnancy – Gaining large amounts of weight and hormonal changes for women can weaken the veins.
  • Certain Skin Conditions – Inflammatory skin can hurt your vein health.
  • Alcoholism – Drinking too often and too much can ultimately affect your blood circulation.

If you have spider veins, there is a high possibility one of these factors contributed to their development. During an initial consultation, we can assess your condition and treat it and give helpful advice so that they do not reform.

Spider Vein Treatment Options

Unwanted veins can be treated with Sclerotherapy, Veinwave™, or Cutera® Excel V™ Laser. These treatments cause the unwanted veins to close down, allowing your body to dissolve the vein wall over a period of time. The type of vein being treated and your skin type are a few factors that will determine which treatment course you are the best candidate for.

Spider vein treatments are performed in our offices in Alcoa, TN. Treatment takes approximately 20 minutes and the number of spider vein treatments needed to treat your veins can vary and is dependent upon a number of factors including the types of veins you have, and the severity. Most patients need anywhere from 3-8 treatments to see the results they want. Perfection, while desirable, is unfortunately not realistic. Improvement, however, is always anticipated. The majority of our patients are very happy wearing shorts and bathing suits again after they have finished treatments.


Sclerotherapy is a medical technique that involves the injection of a medication, called a sclerosant, into an abnormal or unwanted vein. This sclerosant irritates the lining of the vein wall, causing it to collapse, or close down. Your body then resorbs the unwanted vein over the next several days to weeks. There are two FDA approved sclerosants that we use for the treatment of spider veins:

  • Sodium tetradecyl sulfate
  • Polidocanol

These safe and effective medications can treat unwanted veins using a series of injections. If you are interested in learning more about sclerotherapy, click here.

Sclerotherapy of Varicose Veins
Sclerotherapy of Varicose Veins


Veinwave™ is an excellent option for treating spider veins that are too fine to be treated with injection sclerotherapy. For the face, Veinwave™ is a perfect treatment for very fine veins, especially around the facial area. This FDA-cleared radiofrequency device is relatively new in the USA but has been used in Europe for many years. The treatment utilizes thermocoagulation, a process that heats tissues with high-frequency electric currents. During the treatment, a small, insulated needle is injected into the site of the unwanted veins. The treatment is quick and relatively painless. At most, you will experience a slight prick. Results are noticeable immediately afterward. If you have fine spider veins and are considering Veinwave™, visit this page to learn more.

Cutera® Excel V Laser Vein Treatment

The latest addition to our spider veins treatment options is the state of art Cutera® Excel V™. This solid-state, long-pulsed Nd-YAG technology laser system utilizes two different wavelengths (532/1064nm) to treat various concerns, including unwanted veins. Its versatility allows unmatched precision for the treatment of vascular and pigmented lesions, including leg veins, facial veins, redness, Rosacea, Port Wine Stains, Poikiloderma, venous lakes, age spots, and brown spots. The treatment has never been more comfortable with the built-in cooling system. The sapphire contact cooling allows for a comfortable before, during, and after experience without compromising treatment efficacy. The Excel V™ works specifically by heating the unwanted veins, causing them to become fibrotic and close down. More information about the excellent Cutera® Excel V™ Laser vein treatment by clicking here.

What to expect with your Vein Treatment

At your initial evaluation, we will review your pertinent health history and examine your veins to determine if you are a treatment candidate. You can expect a discussion about both treatment types, their risks and benefits, and an estimate of the cost to treat your concerns. In most instances, treatment can be scheduled within the next week.

What to expect after your Vein Treatment

How quick your results appear and what type of side effects you experience depends on which spider vein treatment you decide to undergo. In most cases, you may experience redness around the treated area, but this is a common side effect and goes away shortly. Depending on the severity of your spider veins, you may need to have several treatments. However, after some time and the right number of treatments, your spider veins will no longer be visible, allowing you to live your life with confidence once again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a vein treatment feel like?

Are there activity restrictions?

Do I have to wear compression hose?

What side effects are there to spider vein or varicose treatments?

Do spider veins cause leg pain?

Will insurance pay for spider vein treatment?

Consider the Spider Vein Treatment Options offered at Tennessee Vein Center

Having spider veins can be a frustrating cosmetic concern. They can take a toll on your confidence because of their unsightly appearance. Many factors can lead to their development, so there is no reason to be ashamed of having them. It is estimated that approximately 30 to 60 percent of adults have varicose or spider veins. If you are one of the many who have spider veins and believe they affect your appearance, a spider vein treatment will be incredibly beneficial.

Tennessee Vein Center offers several options to treat spider veins. Which is best for you can be determined during an initial consultation.
Please, call us today at (865) 233-5858, or visit our contact page to learn more.

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