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Leg Veins and Broken Blood Vessels

Spider veins are extremely common and can develop at any age. They are small superficial veins and can be red, blue, or flesh tone and they have a web-like appearance.  Spider and varicose veins are damaged veins.

Varicose veins are larger veins that may appear twisted or bulging on top of the skin. Varicose veins can put you at risk for complications like a blood clot or open sores on the leg.  If you have varicose veins, you should see a vascular surgeon. Learn more about vein care at Mass General.

If you can answer yes to these questions, you may want to consider non-surgical treatments to fade your veins:

  • Are you bothered by the appearance of leg veins?
  • Do you have broken blood vessels at the surface of your skin?

Treatment Options

The most commonly used treatment by our doctors is sclerotherapy.  One of our highly skilled doctors injects a chemical into the damaged spider or varicose vein. These injections irritate the wall of the vein and prevent the blood flow in the damaged vein. This improves circulation to the treated leg and reduces swelling.

All treatments are performed in our office. You may need more than one treatment.  Spider veins usually disappear in 3-6 weeks, and varicose veins take longer, about 3-4 months.

Laser Treatments
Lasers can be used for spider veins and small broken blood vessels.  During the laser treatment, you doctor will direct the laser light directly at the vein. Lasers have the ability to destroy the vein without damaging your skin.

Most patients can return to work or normal activities the next day.  Smaller veins may disappear after treatment, while larger veins turn dark and fade over 1-3 months.  You may need more than one treatment.

Why Do I Need a Consultation?

One of our cosmetic dermatologists (a skin doctor who helps improve a person's physical appearance) will evaluate your condition and all of your information to determine the best course of treatment.  If your varicose veins put you at risk for complications, you may be referred to a vascular surgeon.   During your consult the doctor will:

  • Address your concerns and develop a personalized treatment plan
  • Review your overall health
  • Evaluate your skin conditions
  • Discuss the risk and benefits of the treatment
  • Discuss the number and costs of treatment

A consultation is required and there is a fee for the consultation.

Is Treatment Covered by Insurance?

No, in most cases treatments for spider veins or superficial broken blood vessels are not covered by health insurance. 

If you have bulging varicose veins, you should see a vascular surgeon to find out if it's medically necessary to treat them. Always check with your individual health insurance provider to find out if you have coverage.