SCLEROTHERAPY FOR SPIDER VEINS
As we age, networks of tiny red, purple, and blue squiggly lines begin to show up on our thighs, calves, and ankles. Spider veins. While they aren’t usually painful, their appearance is anything but welcome. We treat spider veins at New Image Medical Spa with sclerotherapy.
SCLEROTHERAPY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
WHAT ARE SPIDER VEINS?
Spider veins are small superficial veins that can be seen on the skin’s surface. They are common in women between the ages of 30 and 50, and are usually simply the result of aging.
As we age, our tissues weaken. This is important in the legs, where de-oxygenated blood is pushed upwards through the veins to return it to the heart and lungs. Surrounding tissues help the veins push the blood. As those tissues slacken, they don’t help push the blood as efficiently as in younger years. This can allow blood to pool in spots, usually near the valves in the veins that prevent backflow. When this happens, veins near the skin surface can become visible. The smaller veins are known as spider veins. Larger veins are known as varicose veins.
Other than aging, spider veins can develop with these factors: occupations that require prolonged standing or sitting, hormonal changes, pregnancy, heredity, and weight fluctuations.
WHAT IS SCLEROTHERAPY?
First developed in the 1930s, sclerotherapy remains the best treatment for spider veins on the legs. The procedure is simple. A sclerosant solution, either hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulphate, is injected in very small amounts directly into the spider vein. This solution causes the vein to close off.
HOW DOES SCLEROTHERAPY WORK?
Dr. Sandhu uses a tiny needle for sclerotherapy. There isn’t really any pain, as the small needle size feels like a pinprick. Dr. Sandhu injects the sclerosant solution directly into the vein. When the solution enters the spider vein it irritates the vein wall. This irritation causes the wall to collapse, closing off the vein. The spider vein instantly diminishes in appearance. Then over the next few weeks, the body absorbs the vein and it disappears completely. Any blood that was flowing through the vein is re-routed instantly to an adjacent, healthy vein.
AM I A CANDIDATE FOR SCLEROTHERAPY?
Treating spider veins with sclerotherapy doesn’t really have any restrictions. The procedure is simple and reactions to the sclerosant solution are virtually nonexistent.
Sclerotherapy does not work on varicose veins, the larger veins that push the skin upward. Too much sclerosant would be required. These veins must be treated with laser or radiofrequency ablation or with manual vein stripping.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER MY SCLEROTHERAPY SESSION?
You may not think of it as “recovery,” but after spider vein treatment, Dr. Sandhu recommends patients wear compression stockings for one to two weeks (depending on the number of veins treated). This compression delivered by these stockings improves the body’s ability to heal and begin the process of absorbing the closed off veins. Walking and other light to moderate exercise is fine immediately after your session, but strenuous exercise should be put off for one week.
WHAT ARE THE CHEMICALS USED IN SCLEROTHERAPY?
The sclerosant used is either hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulphate.
ARE THERE RISKS OR SIDE EFFECTS WITH SCLEROTHERAPY?
The long history of sclerotherapy (first developed in the 1930s) shows its effectiveness and very low risk of any reactions or toxicity. Tens of millions of injections have been given, and continue to be the method of choice for treating spider veins.
Minor issues may be some redness at the injection sites and slight irritation, but that’s about it.