Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins
Spider veins are red and purple blood vessels that occur in patches on the legs. The network of vessels is often as delicate as a spider’s web, which is how they get their name but they can also resemble tiny sunbursts, branching trees or may be distributed in a linear fashion on the surface of the skin.
Spider veins (referred to medically as telangectasias) and varicose veins are not the same — and one does not lead to the other. Whereas varicose veins are large, swollen and occur singularly on the legs, spider veins are delicate and tend to develop in clusters. They are, however, caused by similar factors. Spider veins appear to be hormonally induced and often are associated with pregnancy and menstruation. Although these spider veins do not produce symptoms, the feeder veins deeper in the skin may cause discomfort. Spider veins occur mostly in women, although they are also seen in men.
Spider veins do not pose a serious health threat; they are primarily a cosmetic problem. Typically spider veins cause aching discomfort, a heavy feeling, and legs that tire easily, with symptoms that often get worse as the day continues. Relief comes with walking or elevating the legs.
Symptoms of spider veins may include:
- Dull, generalized aching (especially after standing for long periods)
- Throbbing pain
- Night cramps
- Heaviness in legs
- Symptoms may get worse with menstruation and warmer weather
Spider Vein Treatments
Sclerotherapy is a technique that has been used for many years to treat varicose and spider veins. It involves the injection of a medication, called a sclerosant, directly into the veins. This seals off the vein. The vein then hardens and is absorbed by the body, much like a bruise. The strength of the medication needed is adjusted depending on the size of the vein.
Before treatment, your complete medical history is taken and you will receive a thorough examination in order to determine, how long the problem has existed, whether there are ongoing causes, and if you are experiencing any associated symptoms. A diagnostic ultrasound is often needed to determine if there are underlying causes that need to be treated before beginning Sclerotherapy. If an ultrasound exam shows venous insufficiency in the Saphenous or Perforating Veins, an Endovenous Laser Procedure may be needed first.
During the procedure, you will rest on a comfortable examination table and the skin over the veins is cleansed with alcohol. No anesthetic is necessary! A small amount of sclerosant is administered directly into the vein using a small syringe and a very tiny needle. The vein immediately disappears as the blood is displaced by the medicine, and then returns in about 10-15 seconds.
The irritated vein will then fade away over a few weeks to a few months. Because the needle used for the injection is very small, and the strength of the medicine used is the lowest dilution needed to be effective, there is minimal discomfort during the procedure. Multiple treatments sessions may be needed to achieve your desired results.
Benefits of Sclerotherapy
- Gets rid of unsightly spider and varicose veins
- Eliminate painful symptoms associated with varicose veins
- No incisions, so no scars
- Will not interfere with your normal activities
- Safe and virtually painless, in-office treatment
- Appointment time is typically only 30 minutes
One of the newer options in spider vein treatment, laser procedures use an intense beam of laser light to heat the vein and collapse it completely. The damaged vein is eventually reabsorbed by the body and blood is naturally rerouted through healthy veins in the area. Laser treatments are non-invasive, with few if any risks or downtime involved.