Sclerotherapy

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Treatment of Spider or Varicose Veins Using Sclerotherapy

Spider Veins are dilated skin capillaries and are frequently an inherited tendency, although they may be brought on by sun exposure, trauma, aging, prolonged standing, or liver abnormalities.

Varicose Veins are enlarged or swollen blood vessels caused by faulty vein valves which cause a backup or leak of blood in the venous system. They are located somewhat deeper than spider veins, are sometimes raised, and often appear blue. The veins become dilated, engorged and may become inflamed or painful. Pregnancy often leads to varicose veins. This is due to the 30% increase in blood volume during pregnancy which stretches can stretch elastic tissue. Estrogen treatment for menopausal symptoms can also cause varicose veins.

Sclerotherapy consists of injecting a solution directly into these vessels and veins of the legs and hands, using very tiny needles. This irritates the inner lining of the vessels and they cease to carry blood. Simultaneously, without harming the circulation, the body slowly replaces the inner lining of the vessels with scar tissue. The venous system is very redundant, therefore closing off one vessel will not impact the overall circulation.

Several injections may be required for treatment of the affected areas. Lasers are now available to treat spider veins, however, sclerotherapy is still considered the “gold standard” treatment of choice. The lasers are often effective on very fine vessels which are often too difficult to inject.

A number of solutions are currently used in our practice:

Sotradecol and Sodium Morrhate:

These are the only agents approved by the FDA. Approval was granted many years ago. They do a very good job at sclerosing veins with less risk of ulceration, tissue destruction and permanent pigmentation.

Glycerin Solution:

Used for the treatment of small spider veins and broken capillaries. Due to the fact that glycerin only irritates the inner lining of vein vessels, there is a significant decrease in bruising, swelling, and post-procedural hyperpigmentation. The use of glycerin also demonstrates a better, more rapid clearance of treated veins.

Treatment Tips:

  • Do not take aspirin or products containing aspirin for one week prior to the procedure.
  • Do not shave your legs or use moisturizers for 24 hours before the procedure.
  • Bring shorts to wear during the procedure. Band-Aids will be used at certain sites, so you may want to wear a long dress or baggy pants after the procedure.
  • There are no restrictions on activity following the procedure. Walking is encouraged.

Your legs may look worse for the first week and then will slowly improve. Sclerotherapy generally requires multiple treatment sessions. One to three injection sessions are usually required to effectively treat any vein, and 10-40 veins may be treated in one session. We recommend 4-6 weeks between treatments. The treated blood vessels generally disappear over a period of six months. Although sclerotherapy works for existing spider veins, it does not prevent new ones from developing.

Contact us today for a consult with one of our experts.