Sclerotherapy is the injection of an FDA-approved sclerosing solution for the treatment of spider veins. This treatment option yields excellent cosmetic outcomes with minimal post-procedure discomfort and can be done in as little as 15 minutes depending on the treatment area. Spider veins are smaller, thread-like veins that occur near the surface of the skin and often appear on the legs. They often look like tree branches or spider webs with jagged edges that grow outward. These veins can be red, blue or purpleish in appearance. Spider veins can cover a small area and avoid notice, or they can cover a larger area and become quite unsightly. It is also possible that they may enlarge over time. Some estimate that over half of all adult females will develop spider veins.
How does it work?
The treatment is performed by injecting a mild chemical solution directly into the spider veins on the legs or other area. The solution irritates the vessel walls, causing them to collapse. The sclerotherapy solution causes the vein to scar, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into local tissue and eventually fades. This process will still maintain proper circulation through the healthy blood vessel network in the area. Sometimes more than one treatment is needed to achieve desired results.
What can I expect?
A consultation is required to ensure that you are a candidate. Any medications that may cause easy bleeding should be avoided prior to treatment. After treatment, patients are asked to begin wearing compression stockings immediately and to continue to do so for the following 4-5 days. These can be taken off to shower and sleep. It is recommended to walk for at least 30 minutes daily to encourage optimal results. Side effects of the treatment include swelling, bruising, itching, and occasionally hyperpigmentation. All of these are temporary and will resolve with time. More commonly spider veins respond in 6-8 weeks and larger veins respond in 3-4 months.
You may return to normal activities on the same day. We do advise you to avoid strenuous exercise for two weeks after the procedure.
You’ll also want to avoid sun exposure to the treated areas during that time. The inflammation caused by the injections combined with sun exposure can lead to dark spots on your skin, especially if you already have a dark skin tone.
Veins that respond to treatment generally don’t come back, but new veins may appear. This treatment can also be done with a combination of lasers to help you achieve your goal. Each treatment plan will be tailored to the patient’s needs to address the area of concern.