Studies have shown that between 30 and 50% of adult women have spider veins or telangiectasias, which are clusters of red, blue or purple veins close to the skin, that are typically located on the thighs, back of the legs, calves and ankles. Sclerotherapy is a simple procedure where these veins are injected with a solution which causes them to collapse and fade from view, as your body degrades the remnants.
Because sclerotherapy eliminates spider and varicose veins from the inside out, it reduces scarring, avoids general anesthesia, and lessens recovery time. The new foam sclerosing preparations now make it possible for patients with larger varicose veins to benefit from this minimally invasive procedure and avoid painful surgery to strip out the veins.
Patients often inquire as to the origin of these veins, and both genetics and individual behavior patterns appear to be vital factors in the development of this venous disorder. A positive family history is reported in up to 40% of cases. Race may place a role as well, with Caucasians being most commonly affected. Pregnancy, prolonged standing, or prolonged walking also predisposes people to the presence of these blemishes.
It is important to realize that although these minute caliber veins are connected with the larger venous system, they are not an essential part of it. Spider veins can resemble a spider, with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point, they may be arborizing, resembling a tree with smaller and smaller branches, or they may be disconnected linear shapes.
Varicose veins are different from spider veins. Varicose veins are larger, usually more than a quarter-inch in diameter, tend to be darker in color and often bulge. Varicose veins are also more likely to be symptomatic, with pain being a common complaint. For some patients, sclerotherapy can be used to treat varicose veins. However, more aggressive surgical treatment is sometimes necessary for this condition.
A typical sclerotherapy session is relatively quick, lasting only about fifteen to twenty minutes. After changing into shorts, you will be asked to lie down on the examination table
and the skin over your spider veins will be cleaned with a topical antiseptic. Using one hand to stretch the skin taut, your doctor or nurse will begin injecting the sclerosing agent into the affected veins. Magnification, proper lighting, and experience all combine
to allow the procedure to be performed with precision.
Approximately one injection is administered for every group of spider veins – anywhere from 10 to 40 injections per treatment session. As the procedure continues, you will feel small needle sticks and possibly a mild burning sensation. However, the needle used is of such a small diameter, and the sclerosing solution is so mild that pain is usually minimal.
As with many of the procedures performed at Suncoast Skin Solutions, the care after the procedure is vital to its overall success. Before getting off of the treatment table, you will don a pair of support hose which keep a mild amount of pressure on the lower extremities, so that the veins that were obliterated are not allowed to reform.
After several days, the compression stockings are removed and bruising and redness around the treated areas is common. Within four weeks, usually very little residual evidence of any procedure is evident, but this is highly individualized, with some people
healing faster and others slower.
Realistic expectations are important, and two or more sessions are usually required to achieve optimal results. It is also best to wait four to six weeks between treatments. The procedure treats only those veins that are currently visible; and if you have a predisposition to form them, new veins may eventually appear.
If you fear bathing suit season, or avoid certain types of clothing because you feel the veins are unsightly, and find yourself favoring longer skirts and pants over shorts, then sclerotherapy may be an appropriate procedure to consider. The results can be dramatic, with more youthful legs the end product of a few short sections.
Contact us if you wish to schedule a consultation.