Spider Veins: Sclerotherapy
Spider veins are dilated blood vessels, similar to varicose veins, but smaller and more noticeable. They are red, blue, and purple looking small veins. They spread more commonly across legs
Spider veins are caused by extreme pressure, usually from standing for long periods of time. Spider veins may be hereditary and begin to form as people grow older.
Sclerotherapy is the best option to treat and remove spider veins. This treatment involves injecting a specific liquid chemical into the vein causing the vein to collapse. Over time, the vein turns into scare tissue and fades away. Sclerotherapy is an effective spider vein removal treatment and relatively painless and is completed at office.
Frequently Asked Qestions
How Sclerotherapy Is Done?
In most cases of sclerotherapy, the salt solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. At this point, you may experience mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes, especially when larger veins are injected. The procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.
The number of veins injected in one session depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as the general medical condition of the patient.
Sclerotherapy is performed in the doctor's office by a dermatologist or a surgeon and requires that you do not do any aerobic activity for a few days after the procedure.
What to Do Before Sclerotherapy?
Prior to sclerotherapy, you should avoid certain medications. Talk to your doctor about all medicines (including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and dietary supplements) you are taking. If you need to take an antibiotic before sclerotherapy, contact your doctor. No lotion should be applied to the legs before the procedure.
Some doctors recommend avoiding aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin) or other anti-inflammatory drugs for 48-72 hours before sclerotherapy. Tylenol, however, should not affect this procedure.
What Happens After Sclerotherapy?
After sclerotherapy you will be able to drive yourself home and resume your regular daily activities. Walking is encouraged.
You will be instructed to wear support hosiery to "compress" the treated vessels. If you have compression hosiery from previous treatments, you are encouraged to bring them with you to be certain they still have adequate compression. Department store support stockings will not be adequate if a heavy compression stocking is needed. Your doctor's office can recommend where to purchase heavy compression stockings.
Following the injections, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed.
Also, you should avoid the following for 48 hours after treatment:
Whirlpools or saunas
Direct exposure to sunlight
Showers are permitted, but the water should be cooler than usual. The injection sites may be washed with a mild soap and tepid water.
How Effective is Sclerotherapy?
Studies have shown that as many as 50%-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy. Less than 10% of the people who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all. In these instances, different solutions can be tried. Although this procedure works for most patients, there are no guarantees for success.
In general, spider veins respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins respond in three to four months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before. If needed, you may return for injections.
What are the Side Effects of Sclerotherapy?
Common side effects:
There are milder effects, such as itching, which can last for one or two days after the procedure.
you may experience raised, red areas at the injection site. These should disappear within a few days.
Bruising may also occur around the injection site and can last several days or weeks.
Other Side Effects:
Larger veins that have been injected may become lumpy and hard and may require several months to dissolve and fade.
Brown lines or spots may appear at the vein site. In most cases, they disappear within three to six months, but they may also last indefinitely.
Neovascularization -- the development of new, tiny blood vessels -- may occur at the site of sclerotherapy treatment. These tiny veins can appear days or weeks after the procedure, but should fade within three to twelve months without further treatment.
Should any of the following side effects occur, contact your doctor immediately. These include:
Inflammation within five inches of the groin
A sudden onset of a swollen leg
Formation of small ulcers at the injection site