Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are those tiny purple and red blood vessels found most commonly on the thighs or lower legs of women. They are hereditary and can form anywhere on the leg, from the top of the thigh to the ankle, and even on the face. Varicose veins are larger veins that usually appear raised with a bluish color and can become quite painful. Although spider veins and varicose veins carry blood, they are not part of the venous valve system. Your spider veins and varicose veins can be eliminated through a simple office procedure called sclerotherapy.
How It Works
Sclerotherapy, appropriate for varicose veins and spider veins, has been in use since the 1920s. During the procedure, a sclerosing solution is injected into the vein through a micro-needle. The tiny needle generally causes very little pain. The sclerosing solution causes the vein to blanch (turn white), then gradually disappear. A typical treatment may last for 15 to 20 minutes and consist of multiple injections. Injection sclerotherapy may eliminate the need for an invasive surgical procedure.
What to Expect
Prior to treatment, we will review your complete medical history to determine how long you have had a problem with your veins and the severity of the problem. We need to know if the problem is exacerbated by physical activity and if there has been any prior surgery or treatment on your veins. The doctor may test to determine if the venous system is affected. If it is, surgery may be advised before sclerotherapy is attempted. If the area to be treated can be saved, sclerotherapy will be recommended.
Most patients require multiple injections to completely correct their targeted veins. In most cases, about 50-70% of the treated vessels will be resolved. However, new veins may appear and additional treatments at 3-week intervals are generally required for optimum results.
Recovery & Results
You may be required to wear compression stockings to help keep pressure on the veins, which will reduce bruising and help keep the treated veins closed. Bruises around the treated areas usually disappear after the first week. A tan or brownish pigment may persist for 6 to 8 weeks when larger veins are involved. Occasionally, small, harmless clots can develop at the injection site. These can easily be removed in our office to facilitate healing.
Patients are generally encouraged to resume normal activities immediately. We do ask that you refrain from vigorous activities for the first 24 hours. Walking is encouraged because it increases blood flow through the other veins. Although your final results may not be apparent for several months, most patients experience a 60% to 80% improvement.
Instead of, or in addition to, sclerotherapy our patients often choose Cutera CoolGlide® laser treatments as a safe and effective non-surgical treatment option for some spider veins and varicose veins. At your private consultation, your skin care consultant will help you determine which treatment plan will work best for you.