Spider Vein Treatment
Enhancing your appearance with spider vein treatment
If you sometimes avoid showing your legs because you have spider veins — those small clusters of red, blue or purple veins that appear on the thighs, calves and ankles — you are not alone. It’s estimated that at least half of all women are bothered by this common cosmetic problem.
Sclerotherapy effectively treats varicose and spider veins. It’s often considered the treatment of choice for small varicose veins. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein. The sclerotherapy solution causes the vein to scar and collapse, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into local tissue and eventually fades.
After sclerotherapy, treated veins tend to fade within a few weeks, although occasionally it may take up to a month to see the full results. In some instances, several sclerotherapy treatments may be needed.
- Cosmetic purposes — to improve the appearance of varicose and spider veins
The procedure also can improve related symptoms such as:
- Night cramps
If you’re pregnant, doctors recommend waiting until after your pregnancy to have sclerotherapy done.
Sclerotherapy is a fairly safe procedure, with few complications.
How you prepare
Before the procedure, your doctor performs a physical exam and gathers your medical history.
Your doctor will:
- Evaluate your leg veins
- Check for any underlying blood vessel disease
Your doctor will want to know your medical history, including asking about any:
- Recent illnesses or existing medical conditions, such as a heart condition
- Medications or supplements you take, especially aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), blood thinners or antibiotics
- Smoking or oral contraceptive use, as these can increase your risk of blood clots
- Previous treatment for varicose veins and the results of the treatment
The day before
For 24 hours before the procedure, avoid shaving or applying any lotion to your legs. Wear loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment. You might even consider wearing a pair of shorts so that your legs are exposed.
What you can expect
Sclerotherapy is done in doctor’s office and doesn’t require anesthesia. It generally takes less than an hour to complete.
After the procedure
After the procedure, you rest on your back for 15 to 20 minutes. Your doctor checks your injection sites for any immediate side effects. You can then get up and walk around. Walking and moving your legs is important to prevent the formation of blood clots.
You’ll be asked to wear compression stockings or bandages — usually for about three weeks — to maintain compression on the treated veins.
Most people return to their normal activities on the same day, but it may be wise to have someone drive you home after the procedure. Your doctor will probably advise you to avoid strenuous exercise for two weeks after the procedure. You’ll also want to avoid sun exposure to the treated areas during that time. The inflammation caused by the injections combined with sun exposure can lead to dark spots on your skin, especially if you already have a dark skin tone.