Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins
Sclerotherapy is an injection treatment used to eliminate small to medium size varicose veins and spider veins. Spider veins are superficial telangiectasias, tiny blood vessels that are red, blue or purple in color. The majority of these veins present as a cosmetic problem.
HOW DOES SCLEROTHERAPY WORK?
A very small needle is used to inject a solution into a varicose or spider vein. Different strengths and types of solutions are used depending on the type of vein. Once injected, the cells that line the vein wall will become irritated, inflamed and damaged. External compression is applied using cotton balls, paper tape or support hose. The compression causes the vein walls to seal together and the vein no longer can transport blood. Your body will then break down and absorb the damaged vein. The process is similar to how your body heals a bad bruise. Spider veins do not have any useful function and eliminating them will not affect your circulation. Reducing or eliminating varicose veins can improve your circulation and symptoms of heaviness, aching and fatigue.
HOW MANY TREATMENTS ARE NEEDED?
The number of treatments needed varies from patient to patient depending on the type, size and quantity of veins to be treated. Varicose veins and spider veins may require multiple injection sessions. Each treated area may take an average of 2-3 treatments to respond. Subsequent treatments are usually scheduled every four to six weeks to allow time for the body to respond to the treatment. It is important to realize that the best results require patience. It takes time for your body to respond to the injections. It is important to follow the post-treatment instructions to optimize your results. Your body will continue to heal and “fade” injection sites for months after treatment.
After your initial screening exam, your provider will give you an estimate as to the number of treatments that may be required. This is based on the provider’s assessment, your history and expectations. You may end up needing fewer or more treatments than the originally estimated. It is important to discuss your expected outcomes with your provider and to keep them realistic. Your provider will do everything possible to meet or exceed your expectations.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Photographs will be taken before your first treatment. This helps to monitor your progress. Your legs will look worse before they look better. After the vein is damaged the body needs time to heal. Most people will notice a dramatic improvement approximately four weeks after their initial treatment. Maximal improvement often takes several months and several treatments. There is no guarantee sclerotherapy will be effective in every case. Some veins and areas will need to be retreated. New varicose veins or spider veins may form requiring subsequent treatment. Periodic re-evaluations are encouraged so that any new veins that develop can be injected before they become too large or too numerous.