Tired of your unsightly spider and leg veins? There are different methods available that can help you improve appearance of your legs including sclerotherapy and laser leg vein treatments.
Sclerotherapy is a process that uses injections of a "sclerosing agent" to dissolve and eliminate spider veins. The physician or nurse uses a tiny needle to inject the solution directly into the spider vein. This solution displaces the blood in the vein, causing it to blanche, or turn white. The procedure eliminates the veins from view, and can also alleviate some of the symptoms that sometimes accompany them, such as aches, cramps, swelling, or burning sensations. Spider veins usually appear on the legs, hips, and ankles and appear bluish or purple and reddish in color. They are usually quite thin, and may form in branch-like shapes, with small veins stretching out from a centralized area, or simply in small separated lines. Spider veins do not serve a purpose in the oxygenation of tissue and are a result of increased pressure to the veins. While sclerotherapy is most commonly used for treating spider veins, it can also sometimes be used to treat minor varicose veins in certain patients. More often, however, because of the larger and more serious nature of varicose veins, surgical treatment is required.
Time Required to perform:
Sclerotherapy sessions usually last about a half hour. Best results tend to be seen with at least 3-4 treatments performed about 2 weeks apart, but anywhere from 1-6 treatments may be necessary.
Sclerotherapy side effects may include itching, hyperpigmentation, allergic reactions and minor pain at the injection site.
With sclerotherapy, risks are few. It is considered to be a very safe method of vein treatment.
Duration of Results:
For elimination of veins, patients need to complete the total number of treatments deemed necessary. Most veins will fade within 2-8 weeks of the final session of sclerotherapy (larger veins can take several months to fade). Results are permanent. Of course, it's possible for new veins to appear over time.
There is no downtime after the treatment - patients can immediately resume regular activities - but the sclerotherapy recovery period involves the following:
- Patients are encouraged to walk afterwards
- Many are asked to wear medical support hosiery to compress the treated area for a period
- Patients are restricted from applying any form of heat to the treated area for 48 hours following treatment (ex: no hot baths or saunas)
To further assist with successful sclerotherapy recovery, patients are also restricted from high impact activities such as jogging or swimming for 7-10 days after treatment. They must also abstain from direct sun exposure (no tanning!) during this period.
Due to the cosmetic nature of sclerotherapy, insurance is generally not involved. There may be specific medical conditions that call for the treatment, in which case partial coverage may be received. It is best to contact your insurance provider to inquire about their policy before pursuing the treatment.
Sclerotherapy is virtually painless. The injection is made with an ultra fine needle. For larger veins, a mild discomfort similar to cramping may be felt for a couple minutes.
For sclerotherapy, anesthesia is not required.
Can Be Combined With:
Sclerotherapy can be combined with laser vein treatments or any other cosmetic treatment that would add aesthetic enhancement.
Laser spider vein treatments
Laser spider vein treatment has become very popular because it is non-invasive. While sclerotherapy may take multiple treatments and needle injections are needed in each vein, laser treatment may only require 1 treatment and needles are not used. Our lasers treat spider veins of all colors (red, blue, and purple) and Dr. Nguyen will individualize treatment based on your characteristics (i.e. skin color, vein color, etc.) Veins on almost any area on the body can be treated, although leg and facial veins are the most common.
Lasers work by targeting the color in the blood vessel and selectively heating them without damaging surrounding tissues. The laser will destroy these veins in just a few minutes. The vein may look slightly bruised after treatment, but the bruising will dissipate. A pulse of laser light feels like a small pinch or slight sting similar to the snap of a rubberband against skin. No local anesthesia is required and the procedure is well tolerated. For people with very sensitive skin, a prescription topical anesthetic can be provided. Maximum effect can take up to 6 months, but you will notice most changes within 3 months. Generally 1-3 treatments may be required. Over the years you may develop new veins that need to be treated. There are certain medical conditions and medications that preclude patients from laser treatment. Certain medications can cause increased photosensitivity and may cause burns if not properly recognized. Dr. Nguyen will review your medical history prior to treatment. It is imperative to have a licensed physician perform all laser procedures for safety reasons.