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Definition: Injection Treatment for Spider Veins & Superficial Varicose Veins
Sclerotherapy is a well established nonsurgical treatment of unwanted or symptomatic veins located superficially on the skin surface. It is primarily used to treat spider veins - those small yet unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins that most commonly appear on the thighs, calves and ankles.
Sclerotherapy uses an injection of a special chemical (sclerosant) into a spider vein to damage and scar the inside lining of the vein. This causes the vein to close. Not all veins treated, however, will “take” on the initial session and so those may need to be retreated. Sclerotherapy, unfortunately, does not prevent new veins from appearing in the future.
Sclerotherapy is performed in the office and treatment typically lasts less than 30 minutes. After your skin is cleansed, very small needles inject the spider veins with the sclerosing agent. Some people report a burning or itching sensation as the solution enters the veins, but the discomfort is minimal and no anesthesia is required. Patients are often surprised how fairly comfortable the treatment is. When the treatment is completed cotton balls and a compression wrap will be applied to facilitate the healing process.
The average patient will need 3-4 sessions spaced 1-2 months apart to remove most of the veins. Some patients may succeed with less and some patients will require more.
Sclerotherapy is a very safe and common treatment for spider veins. Some people report an itching or burning sensation when the solution is injected into the veins; this often ends before the session is over and rarely lasts for longer than a day. Common temporary side effects include discoloration and bruising, both of which resolve over time (winter is a great time to have this therapy). The sclerosing agent can cause an allergic reaction in some people and can cause a treatable open sore on the skin if the agent leaks out from the vein.
While the actual Sclerotherapy treatment is short, the days that follow it are equally important to successful spider vein elimination. The breaking down of the unwanted vein will continue after the treatment is over. You will need to elevate your legs as much as possible and wear the compression hose continuously for three to five days. You will be able to do light exercise the day following your treatment, but should not resume any rigorous workouts for about a week. Walking however is recommended.
Dr. Sikorski can help advise you on the best course of action depending on their evaluation of your veins. Generally larger dark veins do better with sclerotherapy and smaller red, blue or purple spider veins with laser.
Source American College of Phlebology
What Are Varicose Veins?
And Oother FAQs
Anatomy and Images
Medline – US National Library of Medicine
Varicose Vein Overview
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