Injection Treatment for Spider Veins & Varicose Veins
Spider veins and varicose veins are a malady that affects nearly everyone to some degree at some point in time. Women are more affected than men, both because the occurrence level is higher and it is harder for women to “hide” unsightly veins. Broken or dilated veins in the skin can be treated by injecting a special solution that shrinks the vein, causing it to shut down and be absorbed by the body. These injections are referred to as sclerotherapy.
Spider veins are the thin reddish or purple “surface” veins that you typically see, but do not feel. Varicose veins are larger swollen veins that are slightly deeper in the skin, blue in color and can sometimes bulge or look like knots. The more severe varicose veins are not treatable with injections and must be surgically removed.
What causes spider and varicose veins ?
These unwanted blood vessels are more cosmetically displeasing than a true medical problem. They often occur as an inherited tendency, and may be part of the aging process. Long periods of standing or sitting, trauma to the leg from blows or falls, pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy are all factors that can be involved.
In normal veins, the one-way valve that controls blood flow prevents the “pooling” of blood. In a varicose vein, this valve does not work properly, allowing backflow of blood and the characteristic enlargement and discoloration.
Exercise and normal weight maintenance may help prevent the formation of both types of vein disorders.
How does Sclerotherapy work?
A solution is injected into the vein with a very fine needle. This causes inflammation and collapse of the vein. Once the vein has collapsed, no blood can re-enter and the remaining vein wall is absorbed by the body’s natural responses. Laser treatments such as Vbeam are often also used. Lasers destroy the veins through absorbed heat from the laser beam.
Sclerotherapy sessions requires 15 to 30 minutes depending on the number of areas being treated. No sedation or anesthesia is needed. You may experience mild temporary cramping during the injection as the solution enters the vessel. This sensation resolves within minutes. Injection sites are covered with gauze and tape, and the legs are usually wrapped with an elastic wrap. The treated vessels gradually disappear after repeat treatments over the following months.
Is Sclerotherapy safe?
Sclerotherapy is a safe procedure with few significant risks. The most common temporary side effect is the development of brownish pigment in the treated area, similar to a freckle, which usually disappears within two to six months. If the treated veins are unusually weak, there may be some temporary bruising around the injection site. You may also develop a tiny scab at the injection site. The scab is treated with an antibiotic ointment until it clears. There is little risk of infection or bleeding from Sclerotherapy.
How many treatments sessions will I need to eliminate my spider veins?
It will depend on the severity of the condition and the extent of improvement desired. Most patients can expect a 50 to 90 percent improvement after several treatments. To guarantee success and counteract the appearance of new spider veins, touch-up treatments may be required every year or so
Before and After Sclerotherapy
SAfter the procedure, you will return home wearing a pressure dressing and/or pressure hosiery to prevent post-injection bleeding, as well as to promote healing.
After each treatment, you will notice further improvement of your appearance. A healing interval (usually about one month) must pass before you have another series of injections in the same site.
Most patients require more than one treatment to obtain the desired results. Although it is often not possible to completely eradicate all the visible veins, the improvement can be quite dramatic.