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What are spider and varicose veins?

Spider veins are the tiny veins that are blue and red and are found most commonly on the legs of women. The vessels can be found anywhere on the leg from the thing to the ankle. Sometimes they are found on the face. Luckily this small unsightly vessels can be eliminated with Sclerotherapy.

What is Sclerotherapy? 

Sclerotherapy was developed over 150 years ago. Sclerotherapy is performed when a tiny needle is used to inject a sclerosing agent into a vein The micro-needles used cause very little pain on injection and are well tolerated by patients. Once the sclerosant is injected the vessel blanches and then gradually disappears. A typical treatment lasts 15-30 minutes and usually 2 to 3 treatments are required.

Will Sclerotherapy work on every patient?

Prior to sclerotherapy a careful history and physical exam is conducted on each patient. Depending on the severity of the patient's condition and length of time with the vessels may affect the treatment plan As with all treatments there is no guarantee and there are some patients that are unresponsive to treatment. Approximately 10% of patients do not see improvement.

Is Sclerotherapy better than laser vein treatments?

At the present sclerotherapy is considered the Gold Standard treatment of small leg vessels. In our practice we offer laser leg vein treatment combined with sclerotherapy when appropriate for optimal results.

How many treatments will you need?

Sclerotherapy is performed from one to three sessions overall several weeks for best results. The treatments are minimally invasive and require little to no downtime. Immediately after the injection the treatment areas are compressed with bandages and occasionally patients with large areas need to wear compression garments. Patients are encouraged to walk after the treatment but to avoid heavy lifting hot saunas, and hot showers, hot compresses, and direct exposure to sunlight for at least 48 hours after treatment. Following the injections, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed.

What adverse reactions can happen?

Complications are few and rare but include allergic reactions to the sclerosant, thrombophlebitis, skin necrosis, and hyper pigmentation or a red treatment area.

Things to Remember:

  • The genetic tendency to develop spider veins cannot be altered
  • The treatment of venous disease is a process as opposed to an event
  • Sclerotherapy may or may not relieve lower extremity symptoms depending on their etiology
  • The veins may look worse before they look better

Recommendation for Healthy Legs:

  • Regular exercise walking, running, stair master, aerobics, swimming, biking
  • Elevate your legs above the level of the heart for at least 10 minutes 1-2 times a day
  • Move legs frequently, flexing ankles 10x will pump the blood out of legs like walking
  • Avoid high heels
  • Maintain proper weight
  • Wear support hose

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