What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure for treating spider veins. During sclerotherapy, the patient receives one or more injections of a sclerosing solution into the spider veins. This causes them to swell and close, reducing or even eliminating their appearance. At Arizona Advanced Dermatology we use 70% glycerin. Glycerin has been shown to be superior to saline solution in three main ways. Glycerin is safer, more effective, and virtually painlesss.
What are Spider Veins and What Causes Them?
Spider veins, also called telangiectasia, are small, visible surface veins that can appear as blue, pink, purple, or red lines, or as starburst-shaped clusters, on the calves, ankles, thighs, or breasts. They are caused by a valve malfunction in the veins and are often associated with pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, family history, injury, and obesity.
What Should I Expect During Sclerotherapy?
At Arizona Advanced Dermatology we use 70% glycerin. Sclerotherapy with Glycerin is virtually painless.
How Long Before the Veins Disappear?
After an initial disappearance at the injection site, the veins reappear and then slowly fade over six to eight weeks after treatment. Small vessels may disappear altogether, while larger ones will decrease in size.
Are There Any Side Effects?
\Side effects are generally mild and include:
- Swelling, tenderness and bruising around the injection site
- Discoloration around the injection site, usually disappearing within three months
- A hive-like rash that usually lasts no longer than a half hour
- Minor muscle cramping near the injection site (such as at the ankle or calf)
What are the Post-Treatment Instructions?
After the procedure pressure gauze bandages are applied and are kept on for 24 hours.. Do not engage in contact sports, weight-bearing exercises involving the legs, or aerobics until your doctor says it is okay to resume these activities.
Who Should Not Have Sclerotherapy?
Those who should probably avoid sclerotherapy include:
- Pregnant women (although treatment is usually fine six months after delivery)
- People with a history of vein inflammation, blood clots in the legs, diabetes, leg ulcers, and arterial or other vascular problems
What are Other Treatment Options for Spider Veins?
Some people are not good candidates for sclerotherapy, for the reasons listed above, or because their veins don’t respond to the treatment. A popular alternative for such people are lasers and other light-based treatments, which are especially effective for tiny veins and bigger, deeper blue veins. While we have three different lasers that can be used for leg veins – we have found that the most effective treatment is sclerotherapy.