Sclerotherapy is one of the most common and best treatments for spider veins. A tiny amount of irritant is injected into the unwanted spider vein causing the vein to become invisible at the skin’s surface.
Spider veins are those little blue or red veins that often show themselves on the legs. Most often caused by genetics, hormones, weight gain or excessive standing, and most often seen in women, spider veins are generally harmless and unwanted. Now it’s time to bide those unsightly spider veins adieu with the help of Sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy at a Glance
How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
A tiny drop of sclerosing agent (the irritant solution) is injected into the capillary. This causes the vein to blanch and the process may tingle or sting for a second or two. This may cause the capillary to initially become more red as the solution causes the capillary to either swell or collapse, both of which result in the vein no longer being visible at the surface of the skin. Eventually the vein will disappear and be absorbed by the body.
What Does Sclerotherapy Treat?
Sclerotherapy treats spider veins. There are two types of veins that most people want to get rid of: spider veins and varicose veins. Spider veins are small and appear flat at the skin’s surface. Varicose veins are much larger and cause the skin to bulge. varicose veins require a different remedy (often Ambulatory Phlebectomy) and are not treated by Sclerotherapy.
What Are Sclerotherapy Treatments Like?
Sclerotherapy is performed in the office and treatment typically lasts less than 30 minutes. After your skin is cleansed, very small needles inject the spider veins with the sclerosing agent. Some people report a burning or itching sensation as the solution enters the veins, but the discomfort is minimal and no anesthesia is required. When the treatment is completed you will wear compression hose home to facilitate the healing process. Sclerotherapy often requires a series of treatments, depending on the area to be treated and individual reactions to the treatment. Most patients receive 4 to 6 treatments.
Does It Hurt and What Can Go Wrong?
Sclerotherapy is a very safe and common treatment for spider veins. Some people report an itching or burning sensation when the solution is injected into the veins; this often ends before the session is over and rarely lasts for longer than a day. Common temporary side effects include discoloration and bruising, both of which resolve over time (winter is a great time to have this therapy). The sclerosing agent can cause an allergic reaction in some people and can cause a treatable open sore on the skin if the agent leaks out from the vein.
What should I expect from Sclerotherapy Treatment?
While the actual Sclerotherapy treatment is short, the days that follow it are equally important to successful spider vein elimination. The breaking down of the unwanted vein will continue after the treatment is over. You will need to elevate your legs as much as possible and wear the compression hose continuously for five days. Continue to wear the compression hose as instructed and during the day for the next six to eight weeks to facilitate successful healing and vein elimination. You will be able to do light exercise the day following your treatment, but should not resume any rigorous workouts for about a week.
- Stop smoking before treatments
- Avoid certain vitamins and drugs that can cause bleeding, such as aspirin, ibuprofen and vitamin E
- Get the correct compression hose prior to your appointment
- Bring shorts to wear during the treatment
- Wear your compression hose as directed
For more information about Sclerotherapy, we encourage you to call to schedule an in-office consultation.