Are you bothered by spider veins? If so, know that you don’t have to live with them forever. Today’s standard of care, via a combination of treatments, including injection sclerotherapy and superficial or topical laser, can reduce the appearance of these veins and restore your confidence. Many patients often ask us “does sclerotherapy hurt?” Read on to find out how sclerotherapy works and the answer to this question.
How Sclerotherapy Works
Sclerotherapy is currently the treatment of choice for very fine spider veins (telangiectasias) and reticular veins. It is also commonly used as an additional treatment for tributaries of the saphenous vein after endovenous laser ablation, which requires ultrasound guidance. Using a tiny needle, chemicals, called sclerosants, are injected into the diseased veins, irritating the lining of the blood vessels and causing them to collapse and stick together. Over time, the blood vessels shrink down, fibrose and turn into scar tissue and eventually fade away.
In most cases, sclerotherapy sessions take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour to complete, with visible improvements noticeable within 4-6 weeks.
Recovering From Sclerotherapy
We always warn patients that following treatment, their legs may look worse before they look better! Immediately after treatment, each injection area will look like a small red mosquito bite and may be slightly itchy for a few hours. The treated veins may also look bruised and the patient may experience minor cramping. This discomfort is temporary, and although rarely needed, easily treated with over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol or NSAID’s.
Sclerotherapy Consultations Available
Spider Vein Treatment Has No Downtime
Patients can return to normal activities immediately post-treatment. However, during the first 36 hours, patients should not do anything that will significantly increase their heart rate, so they should avoid major exercise such as squatting, heavy lifting or running. Spider vein patients are required to wear medical-grade compression hose for a period of time post-treatment to keep the veins collapsed and to help their legs heal. Dr. Schwartz also advises recently treated spider vein patients to avoid prolonged sitting or standing in one place for more than 1-2 hours at a time, and to continue frequent walking.
Four to Six Weeks Post Spider Vein Treatment
The treated spider veins will slowly begin to fade over the course of several weeks, however, remaining clusters of veins still requiring additional treatments will be noticeable. It is important to remember that it can take months for the clusters of spider veins to completely fade. As the treated veins close, blood can sometimes be trapped within the vein, leading to a firm, ropy sensation, and a brownish discoloration of the skin over the vein. This “trapped blood” will be reabsorbed by the body over time, but the process can be speeded up by having the patients return to the office within the first few weeks to undergo “needle aspiration”, where the old blood is flushed out of the vein.
Good Candidates for Sclerotherapy
If you are frustrated by painful and/or unsightly varicose and/or spider veins, you may be a good candidate for sclerotherapy. You should only undergo this treatment if you have realistic expectations and understand that a single spider vein treatment will never clear all of the spider veins and a series of treatments, typically 3-5, is universally required. New spider veins may also develop over time.
One of the most noteworthy benefits of spider vein treatment is that it’s minimally-invasive and doesn’t require any anesthesia or downtime, making it an ideal treatment for most!
Take the Next Step
If you have further questions about sclerotherapy or are wondering whether you are a good candidate for it, we encourage you to schedule a free vein screening with Dr. Craig Schwartz at Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz. Call us at (505) 848-8346 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to meeting you!
Premier Vein & Body by Schwartz is located in Leawood, KS and proudly also serves Overland Park, Johnson County and the entire Kansas City metro area.