What Are Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?Veins have valves responsible for returning blood to the heart. Varicose and spider veins become visible when these valves do not function properly; due to the weakened or “incompetent” valves, blood pools in the veins instead of traveling back to the heart. Spider veins appear as small clusters or webs of red, blue and purple vessels. Varicose veins appear to be swollen, twisted, discolored or rope-like.
Visible leg veins most commonly affect women. Factors such as certain health conditions, weight, pregnancy and hormonal imbalance can increase the chances of developing visible leg veins. Veins may also be the consequence of standing or sitting for long periods.
Sclerotherapy may be performed to improve the appearance of these vessels.
What Is Sclerotherapy?Sclerotherapy is a long-standing non-surgical treatment for problematic spider and varicose veins. Depending on the severity and extent of leg veins, and on the patient's level of compliance with recommended home care, sclerotherapy may produce the desired result in a few treatments. According to research, between 50 and 80 percent of treated veins may fade away with each sclerotherapy session.
What to expectPerformed by one of our trained dermatologists, sclerotherapy involves injecting targeted veins with a sclerosing solution. The medication damages the walls of the vein, causing them to stick together. The vein closes and blood flow is then rerouted to healthier veins. With time, the closed veins resolve and fade.
The injections of the sclerosing solution may cause mild cramping or discomfort that diminishes within a few minutes. Most sessions require only about 15 to 30 minutes.
Sclerotherapy AftercareWe may recommend the use of support garments or acetaminophen as needed for maximum comfort. It is important to avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or aspirin for the first few days after the sclerotherapy procedure. Also, heat and sunlight should be avoided. Hot compresses or hot showers or baths should not be used for at least 48 hours following the procedure.
Side effects of sclerotherapyMost side effects that may occur after sclerotherapy are mild and last only a short time. These may include itching and swelling around injection sites. Bruising may also occur, and will fade over several days or weeks. Allergic reactions to sclerotherapy are rare, and are typically not serious. If sudden swelling occurs, or ulcers develop at injection sites, contact our office right away.
Who Is a Candidate for Sclerotherapy?Candidates for sclerotherapy are bothered by the cosmetic appearance of varicose or spider veins. They may also experience symptoms such as aching, swelling or burning related to the veins.
Benefits of SclerotherapySclerotherapy provides a noticeable improvement in the appearance of veins; it may also help improve symptoms related to the veins such as aching or swelling.
Another benefit associated with sclerotherapy is that there is no downtime associated with this procedure. Patients can go about their day, and are encouraged to do some walking after treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sclerotherapy
What happens when veins are left untreated?Most cases of spider veins are usually a cosmetic issue; leaving them untreated is not associated with significant risks. Leaving varicose veins untreated can, in some cases, increase the risk of problems with blood clots, ulcers and changes in the skin.
Is sclerotherapy painful?Sclerotherapy is not painful. Patients have described feeling mild discomfort but not pain.
How many treatments will it take to cure the affected veins?The number of treatments required depends on the severity of the veins. On average, patients usually need two to four treatments to achieve the desired results.
Who shouldn’t get sclerotherapy?Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should postpone sclerotherapy.
Individuals with cardiovascular disease or a history of heart bypass surgery or blood clots are not good candidates for treatment.
What results can be expected from a sclerotherapy treatment?Results largely depend on the skill of the provider performing the treatment. The team at Grossmont Dermatology Medical Center is very experienced with sclerotherapy and has an excellent track record of success.
Patients can expect to see improvement in approximately 50 to 80 percent of veins after sclerotherapy. It can take three to six weeks to see improvement in smaller veins, and three to four months to see an improvement in larger veins.
Can veins come back?Treated veins usually do not come back. However, it is possible for new veins to appear.
Learn More About SclerotherapyYou don't have to hide because of spider veins or varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is a tried-and-true procedure that can successfully eliminate unattractive spider veins and varicose veins. Call Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic at (619) 462-1670 to see how we can help you.
Grossmont Dermatology Medical Clinic and Skin Cancer Treatment Center
Grossmont Dermatology is committed to providing patients with excellent quality skin treatments to help them preserve their youth. They use the latest technologies and treatment modalities to provide patients with the most effective services suiting their individual needs. The team of professionals at the practice comprise:
- Christopher Crosby, MD, PhD, FAAD - Specialist in Mohs surgery and reconstructive dermatologic surgery for skin cancers.
- Paul B. Dean, MD, MPH, FAAD – Specializes in general dermatology, mole and lesion removal, photodynamic therapy (PDT), and skin cancer treatments.
- Maki Christine Goskowicz, MD, FAAD – Expertise includes general and laser dermatology, and skin cancer and melanoma treatments.
- Shinko Lin, MD – Specializes in general, cosmetic and laser dermatology, skin cancer treatments, and PDT.
- Helene Jolly, PA-C, MPAP – Performs cosmetic dermatology, acne and skin rash treatments, and mole removal among other tasks.