Are you looking forward to spring, but dread revealing your blue-veined and blotchy legs in shorts and bathing suits? You are not alone. Roughly 50 to 60 percent of adults suffer from unsightly varicose or spider veins, or some other vein problem. Luckily, there are methods for removing or significantly diminishing the appearance of those varicose and spider veins. After a short series of treatment sessions, you may be ready to try on a whole new wardrobe!
One of the most popular treatments for removing varicose and spider veins is sclerotherapy. This treatment involves injecting smaller, problem veins on the legs, arms and face with a sterile solution (sclerant) that irritates the lining of the blood vessel. This irritation to the blood vessel causes it to swell and break down, becoming scar tissue that will fade from view. Your specialist treats the problem veins that are not essential to circulation, and are just beneath the surface of the skin. Your blood circulation is carried out by the healthier veins located deeper in your body.
How it Works
Sclerotherapy is a non-invasive procedure that rarely requires any anesthetic, and can be performed as an outpatient service in a clinic or doctor’s office. Very fine needles are used, and one injection is typically required for every inch of vein treated. Each treatment session will take between 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of veins and size of the area that is being treated. The doctor will apply a bandage to the treated area, and will likely recommend that you use support hose or socks that provide light compression for a few days following treatment.
Most people require a few sessions scheduled over several weeks to completely diminish their varicose and spider veins, though some patients see results after just one or two treatments. Sclerotherapy is most often used on small- to medium-sized veins. A range of other techniques are used to treat larger vein problems.
Side Effects and Follow Up
Some patients receiving sclerotherapy experience some mild pain, stinging, burning or itching to the treated areas. These side effects can usually be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. Any associated bruising usually disappears after a few days.
Most vascular specialists recommend that patients receiving sclerotherapy walk regularly after treatment to encourage good circulation, and that they avoid more strenuous workouts and activities for several days.
Click here to find a vein specialist or to learn more about the many vein treatments available!