This procedure is most often used to treat visible spider veins and small varicose veins near the surface of the skin. A painless liquid is injected into the veins, causing them to shrink, close off and eventually disappear. For the typical patient, up to three treatments are needed but the results are long lasting. After treating hundreds of patients at Vein Care Specialists, no patient has stopped the procedure because of pain or discomfort!
Sclerotherapy can enhance your appearance and your self-confidence. The skin of your legs will appear younger, clearer and more healthy-looking. Often, patients are surprised at the dramatic difference in appearance between a treated leg and an untreated one. Patients are pleased with the results of sclerotherapy.
What to expect from Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy of spider veins is a relatively simple procedure that requires no anesthesia, so it is performed on an outpatient basis. A typical sclerotherapy session is relatively quick, lasting about 15 to 45 minutes. After changing into shorts you will be asked to lie down on the examination table and the skin over your spider veins will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution. Our vein care specialist will then inject the liquid sclerosing agent into the affected veins. Bright light and magnification are used to ensure that the process is completed with maximum precision.
Approximately one injection is administered for every inch of spider. During the procedure, you may listen to music, read, or just talk to your practitioner. You will be asked to shift positions a few times during the process. As the procedure continues, you will feel tiny needle sticks. However, the needle used is so thin and the sclerosing solution is so mild that pain is very uncommon. Any significant discomfort has been described as no worse than plucking eyebrows. Again, after treating hundreds of patients at Vein Care Specialists, no patient has stopped the procedure because of pain or discomfort!
During your initial consultation, you will be asked several questions and your legs will be examined by our vein care specialist. Our vein care specialist will ask you about any problems you may have with your legs, such as pain, aching, itching or tenderness. You will also be asked about your medical history, medications you take, or conditions that would preclude you from having treatment.
You will be checked for signs of more serious deep vein problems, often indicated by swelling, sores, or skin changes at the ankle. A hand-held Doppler ultrasound device is sometimes used to detect abnormal veins hidden beneath the skin. For more serious spider vein cases, an ultrasound of your legs may be recommended to assist the doctor in customizing an individual treatment plan. Problems with the larger, hidden veins must be treated first, or sclerotherapy of the surface veins will be unsuccessful.
Before Your Treatment
You will receive instructions from our office and at this website on how to prepare for your treatment. Do not apply any type of moisturizer, sun block or oil to your legs on the day of your procedure. You may want to bring shorts to wear during the injections and pants to wear home after the procedure. When scheduling your procedure, you should be aware that your treated veins will look worse for a few weeks before they begin to look better.
After Your Treatment
Weeks after each sclerotherapy session, the veins will appear lighter. You should be aware that your treated veins will look worse before they begin to look better. You will notice reddish areas at the injection sites. The discolored areas will usually diminish within one month.
A one-month healing interval is typical before you are scheduled for additional sclerotherapy injections. After each treatment, you will notice further improvement in the appearance of your legs. Two or more sessions are usually required to achieve optimal results.
You should also be aware that the procedure treats only those veins that are currently visible; it does not prevent new veins from surfacing in the future. As time passes, you may find that you need “touch-ups” for new veins that surface. But, even if you choose not to have further sclerotherapy, your legs will look better than if you never had treatment at all.
The Best Candidates for Sclerotherapy
Women of any age are usually good candidates for sclerotherapy. In some women, spider veins may become noticeable as teenagers. For others, the veins may not become obvious until after the age of 35. Spider veins in men aren’t nearly as common as they are in women. However, men do have spider veins and sclerotherapy is just as effective for men who seek treatment.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you will be advised to postpone sclerotherapy treatment. In most cases, spider veins and varicose veins that surface during pregnancy will disappear on their own within three months after the baby is born. Also, because it’s not known how sclerosing liquid may affect breast milk, nursing mothers are advised to wait until after they have stopped breastfeeding.
Patients with circulatory problems, heart conditions, or diabetes may be advised against treatment.