Spider Vein Treatments
While spider veins usually don’t pose a health risk they do make many feel self conscious. The vascular surgeons at the Advanced Vein Center continually strive to provide the newest technologies available to improve patient outcomes, and reduce recuperation time and cost.
Sclerotherpy is the most effective noninvasive method of treating medium to large spider veins. The procedure is completed in our office and the healing process is brief.
In this procedure a solution is injected into the varicose vein causing the vein to be reabsorbed by the body. This is a simple office procedure that only takes 30-60 minutes. In some cases repeated treatments may be necessary. After treatment, you will be required to wear compression stockings for a short duration to assist with the re-absorbtion of the spider veins. Walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged.
How Many Treatments Are Needed?
The number of treatments needed varies from patient to patient, depending on the type, size, and quantity of veins to be treated. Spider veins may require multiple treatment sessions. Subsequent treatments are usually scheduled every four to six weeks to allow time for the body to respond to treatment. It is important to realize that the best results require patience. It takes time for your body to respond to the injections. It is imperative that you follow the post-treatment instructions to optimize your results. Your body will continue to heal and fade the injection sites for months after treatment.
After the initial screening exam, your doctor will estimate the number of treatments that may be required. This is based on the doctor’s assessment, your history, and your expectations. You may end up needing fewer or more treatments than estimated. It is important to discuss your expected outcomes with your doctor and to keep them realistic.
What to Expect
Photographs, used to monitor your progress, will be taken before treatment.
Sclerotherapy is an in-office procedure with little or no anesthesia. The procedure takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the number of veins being treated. Initially, the physician , nurse practitioner or physician assistant examines the area to be treated and maps out the veins. Next, the provider cleans the area with an antiseptic. Then, holding the skin tight, the provider injects the sclerosing agent directly into the affected veins.
This procedure may be performed multiple times to achieve the desired results. Immediately after treatment the spider veins will be accentuated. As the veins heal, appearance will improve. Most people notice a dramatic improvement approximately four weeks after their initial treatment. Maximum improvement may take several treatments and several months.
Please note: There is no guarantee that sclerotherapy will be effective in every case, and some veins may need to be re-treated to achieve complete closure. With proper injection technique and compliance with post-treatment instructions, spider vein recurrence in the same vein rarely occurs. New spider veins may form, requiring subsequent treatment. Periodic reevaluations are encouraged so that any new spider veins that develop can be treated before they become too large or numerous.
After treatment, you will need to wear compression stockings. You’ll also be encouraged to walk often to prevent blood clots from forming in the deep-vein system. Heavy exercise and sitting or standing for long periods of time should be avoided.
Itching. You may experience itching around the injection site. If this occurs, it is usually mild and lasts for one to two days.
Hyperpigmentation. A light brown discoloration of the skin may develop along the vein in the injection area. Approximately 20 to 30 percent of patients treated note the discoloration, which is lighter and less obvious than the vein being treated. The hyperpigmentation usually fades in a couple of weeks but may take several months to a year to totally resolve. There is a 1 percent incidence of hyperpigmentation continuing after one year.
A small amount of blood may become trapped and hardened in the vein when injecting some spider vein complexes. This may feel like a knot or cord, and it may look dark blue or bruised. This is a common occurrence. You may need to return before your next treatment so that the area can be drained to remove the trapped blood. This is a simple procedure with minimal discomfort. The chance of this occurring can be decreased with proper compression of the vein and the use of compression stockings after treatment.
If you develop hyperpigmentation after treatment, apply sun block to the affected areas when sun exposure is anticipated, to avoid increasing the hyperpigmentation. Continue to use sun block until it has resolved.
Telangiectatic matting. The formation of new, fine spider veins in the injection area occurs in approximately 10 percent of patients. The exact reason for this is unknown. If untreated, the matting usually resolves in three to 12 months, but very rarely it can be permanent. If the matting does not fade, it can be reinjected.
Pain. Some tenderness at the injection site is common. Injection of the sclerosing agent can be uncomfortable but is usually well tolerated by most patients. The discomfort is temporary, lasting one to, at most, seven days. Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used if needed, according to directions.
Bruising. Bruising may occur at the injection site. It may be minimized by avoiding aspirin and ibuprofen products for 10 days before and after each treatment.
Sources: National Women’s Health Information Center, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.