Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatment with Sclerotherapy
Improve or eliminate unsightly and painful spider veins and varicose veins with Sclerotherapy.
Unwanted and unattractive blood vessels called spider veins appear mostly on the legs, face, and occasionally elsewhere. Spider veins can be short, unconnected lines, each about the size of a large hair, connected in a scraggly, 'sunburst' pattern, or look like a spider-web or a tree with branches. Sometimes they occur on a small area, or they can cover a large area of skin and be quite unattractive. Varicose veins are larger, unwanted blood vessels that may be raised above the skin surface, and may occur along with spider veins. Some people with these unwanted blood vessels suffer from occasional pain, ranging from a dull throbbing pain to a burning sensation.
Spider veins may carry blood, but are not necessary.
Though unwanted blood vessels, such as spider veins and varicose veins carry blood, the great majority of them, especially spider veins, are not necessary. Since these veins are not needed for circulation, the question in treating them is how to eliminate them, not "repair" them.
Sclerotherapy causes existing spider veins to fade from view.
Spider veins can be treated with either sclerotherapy or laser treatments. A free consultation with the medical team at Royal Laser Med Spa is the best way to determine which is the most appropriate treatment for you. Sclerotherapy is a rather simple procedure, in which veins are injected with a sclerosing solution which causes them to collapse and fade from view. Sclerotherapy for varicose veins usually makes varicose veins fade in a few weeks, although some veins may require additional injections. Sclerotherapy for varicose veins does not require anesthesia. The procedure may also remedy the bothersome symptoms associated with spider veins, including aching, burning, swelling and night cramps.
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Sclerotherapy Treatment FAQ's
Answers to your most frequent questions about Sclerotherapy Procedures..
• What are Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
Spider veins (known as telangiectasias or sunburst varicosities) are small, thin veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. Although these super-fine veins are connected with the larger venous system, they are not an essential part of it.
A number of factors contribute to the development of spider veins. Examples include heredity, pregnancy and other events that cause hormonal shifts, weight gain, occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing, and the use of certain medications.
Spider veins usually take on one of three basic patterns:
- They may appear in a true spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point
- They may be arborizing and will resemble tiny branch-like shapes; often appearing on the outer thigh in a sunburst or cartwheel distribution.
- They may be appear as thin separate lines. Linear spider veins are commonly seen on the inner knee.
Varicose veins differ from spider veins in a number of ways. Varicose veins are larger - usually more than a quarter-inch in diameter, darker in color and tend to bulge. Varicose veins may cause pain and be related to more serious vein disorders. Sclerotherapy may be used to treat these varicose veins, however, surgical treatment is often necessary for this condition.
• What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy, a well-proven medical procedure that has been in use since the 1930s, is used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins.
• How does Sclerotherapy work?
During the sclerotherapy procedure an FDA-approved solution is injected into the vein through a micro needle, to induce an inflammatory reaction which causes the vein to seal shut and gradually shrink away and disappear. Once the vein is sealed, blood is forced into healthier veins. The body then initiates the natural healing process and the vein begins to decompose, shrink and eventually disappear.
Approximately one injection is administered for every inch of spider vein - anywhere from five to 40 injections per treatment session.
During the procedure, you may listen to music, read, or just talk to your practitioner. You will be asked to shift positions a few times during the process. As the procedure continues, you will feel small needle sticks and possibly a mild burning sensation. However, the needle used is so thin and the sclerosing solution is so mild that pain is usually minimal.
• What are the benefits of Sclerotherapy?
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 may require a surgical treatment (Phlebectomy) and are not always treatable by Sclerotherapy.
While sclerotherapy can enhance your appearance and your self confidence, it should be noted that not every affected vein will disappear completely as a result of treatment. After each sclerotherapy session, the veins will appear lighter. Two or more sessions are usually required to achieve optimal results. Keep in mind that the Sclerotherapy treats only those veins that are currently visible; it does nothing to permanently alter the venous system or prevent new veins from surfacing in the future.
• Is Sclerotherapy safe?
Sclerotherapy is a very safe and common treatment for spider veins.
• Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Women of any age may be good candidates for sclerotherapy, but most fall in the 30-to-60 category. In some women, spider veins may become noticeable in the teen years. For others, these veins may not become obvious until they reach their 40s.
Spider veins in men aren't nearly as common as they are in women. Men who do have spider veins often don't consider them to be a cosmetic problem because the veins are usually concealed by hair growth on the leg. However, sclerotherapy is just as effective for men who seek treatment.
• Who is NOT Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is not recommended if you are pregnant or bedridden. If you have had a blood clot in the past, your eligibility will be decided on an individual basis, and will depend on the overall health of the area needing treatment as well as the reason for the clot.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may be advised to postpone sclerotherapy treatment. In most cases, spider veins that surface during pregnancy will disappear on their own within three months after the baby is born. Also, because it's not known how sclerosing solutions may affect breast milk, nursing mothers are usually advised to wait until after they have stopped breastfeeding.
• How should I prepare for my Sclerotherapy treatment?
Prior to Sclerotherapy treatments, you should avoid certain medications. Talk to your doctor about all medicines (including over-the-counter drugs, herbs and dietary supplements) you are taking before the procedure. It may be recommended that you avoid aspirin, ibuprofen (for example, Advil, Motrin and Nuprin) or other anti-inflammatory medications for 48-72 hours before sclerotherapy. No lotion should be applied to the legs before the procedure (tape will not stick) and it is best to wear shorts to the procedure.
• How many Sclerotherapy treatments will be needed?
The number of treatments needed to clear or improve the condition differs from patient to patient, depending on the extent of varicose and spider veins present. One to six treatments may be needed; the average is two to four.
As time passes, you may find that you need "touch-ups" or full treatments should any new veins surface. But even if you choose not to have further sclerotherapy, your legs will look better than if you never had any treatments at all.
• What results should I expect from Sclerotherapy treatments?
Most patients are pleased with the difference sclerotherapy makes. The skin of your legs will appear younger, clearer and more healthy-looking. Although sclerotherapy will obliterate the noticeable veins for good, it's important to remember that treatment will not prevent new spider veins from emerging in the future.
Bruising and discoloration should disappear within two weeks or so of your sclerotherapy procedure. You will be encouraged to walk to prevent clots from forming in the deep veins of the legs. During your treatment program, prolonged sitting and standing should be avoided, as should squatting, heavy weight lifting and "pounding" type exercises, including jogging.
A healing interval must pass before you may have your second series of injections in the same site. After each treatment, you will notice further improvement of your legs' appearance.
The majority of patients who have completed their treatment with sclerothrapy will see good to excellent improvement of their vein problems. Unfortunately, sclerotherapy will not be effective in every case. Approximately 10 percent of patients who undergo sclerotherapy have results that range from poor to fair with no vein disappearance after a few treatments.
• What Can Be Expected During Sclerotherapy?
In most cases, the sclerosing 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 number of veins injected in one session varies, and depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as your general medical condition.
• What Happens After a 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 should 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.
• What Are the Possible Complications of a Sclerotherapy treatment?
Serious medical complications from sclerotherapy are extremely rare when the procedure is performed by a qualified medical practioner. However, they may occur, and include the formation of blood clots in the veins, severe inflammation, adverse allergic reactions to the sclerosing solution and skin injury that could leave a small but permanent scar.
• How Should I Care for My Skin After Sclerotherapy?
In most cases, you will be able to resume regular activities immediately. However, excessive standing or vigorous activities are not advised for 24 to 48 hours.
In addition to the compression tape applied during the procedure, tight-fitting support hose may be prescribed to guard against blood clots and to promote healing. The tape and cotton balls can be removed after 48 hours. However, you may be instructed to wear the support hose for 72 hours or more.
• How long does a Sclerotherapy treatment take?
Sclerotherapy is performed in the office and treatment can last from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the number of veins treated in a particular session.
• Are Sclerotherapy treatments painful?
Some patients report a burning or itching sensation as the solution enters the veins, but the discomfort is minimal and no anesthesia is required.
• How soon are the results of Sclerotherapy treatments noticeable?
You should be aware that your treated veins will look worse before they begin to look better. When the compression dressings are removed, you will notice bruising and reddish areas at the injection sites. The bruises will diminish within one month. In many cases, there may be some residual brownish pigmentation which may take up to a year to completely fade.
• Are there risks or side effects from Sclerotherapy?
Common temporary side effects of Sclerotherapy 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. Following Sclerotherapy treatment, the affected veins may darken and the area may appear bruised. Support hose or a snug wrapping to the treated area may be recommended. This application of pressure will help reduce side effects and aid in more effective healing and treatment. After the treatment of larger vessels, the affected area may appear pigmented but this is temporary and will fade over time. It's not uncommon to experience some cramping in the legs for the first day or two after the injections. This temporary problem usually doesn't require medication.