If you’re exploring your options for treating spider veins or varicose veins, look no further than sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a simple procedure that can visibly and dramatically improve the appearance of unwanted, swollen, or prominent veins in your skin.
Varicose, spider, and reticular veins are sometimes lumped together and/or considered the same condition. While these conditions all refer to the way damaged veins interact with the skin, they all appear in vastly different ways on the legs or elsewhere on the body. These are often little more than cosmetic issues, but some can cause health problems, inhibit circulation, and potentially lead to blood clots. For some people, these conditions will cause serious discomfort such as stinging, itching, and burning in the affected areas. For a lot of people with varicose, spider, or reticular veins, it’s far more important to alleviate symptoms than to make sure their legs look their best.
Spider veins often appear as red, branching lines on the skin. They are not commonly raised bumps, but are simply visible with blood. Sometimes spider veins appear blue or purple. They are small and appear in branching, web-like patterns that are caused by blood pooling in weakened veins. Spider veins are most commonly asymptomatic, meaning they don’t cause pain or other health problems.
Varicose veins are formed when veins twist and become gnarled, thereby backing up with blood. They cause the skin to bulge, appear knotty, and potentially have a darker coloration. The main cause of varicose veins is weakened valves or vein walls breaking down and diminishing circulation. People are more likely to develop varicose veins as they age. Pregnant women also commonly get varicose veins due to hormonal changes and pressure on the lower body’s circulatory system caused by the expanding uterus.
Reticular veins are similar in appearance to spider veins, but are usually darker colored. Generally purple or blue, reticular veins are small and usually cause pain and discomfort. Reticular veins are caused by weakness within the veins and are sometimes referred to as “feeder” veins because they often lead into spider veins. Sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins will usually address reticular veins as well. When eliminated, spider veins usually fade with time.
Sclerotherapy doesn’t produce instant results. While it’s incredibly effective, sclerotherapy needs time to work at reducing blood build-up within affected veins. Most people will notice a 50% improvement of their vein conditions within one to four months, depending on the type of condition. Spider and reticular veins take three to six weeks to improve. Deeper, more impactful varicose veins take longer, usually around three to four months. Depending on your condition, you may need upward of three treatments to get the results you desire.
Sclerotherapy employs an injection of hypertonic saline, a substance that is about 23% sodium chloride. The solution is very safe within the body and doesn’t cause staining. There is no possibility of allergic reaction from an injection of hypertonic saline.
While sclerotherapy is not a painless procedure, it does not require anesthesia and can be performed in your dermatologist’s office. Most people will feel a slight discomfort and temporary stinging as the solution is injected into the veins. In very rare cases, temporary side effects can occur, such as brown spots, scabs, or larger ulcerations at the injection site. These effects usually heal on their own, but in some cases they may leave behind small, faint scars. In some cases, thrombophlebitis can occur in the treated veins. This is a superficial condition that can be treated and resolved with anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics.
Ultimately, sclerotherapy can be done in a few hours or less in just one day. Usually, repeated sessions are scheduled about four to six weeks apart so that results can be observed before you undergo another treatment. There is no real recovery time from sclerotherapy and most people can go back to work right away. If complications like thrombophlebitis occur, treatment is short and should not keep you from your daily activities.
Regardless of why you’re seeking sclerotherapy for your leg vein conditions, it’s crucial that you find a New England dermatologist you can trust. If you want professional, courteous, and effective consultation and treatment, call NEDA Skin Solutions today.