Many people develop small red, purple, and blue vessels, called spider veins or telangiectasias, on the legs and thighs. Spider veins are dilated blood vessels found close to the surface of the skin. They are usually confined to a small area, but sometimes cause a person to be self-conscious when large areas become too obvious.
Sclerotherapy and Spider Veins
There is no known cause for spider veins, though they occur more commonly in women. Factors responsible include family history, multiple pregnancies, birth control pills, prolonged standing or sitting, trauma, frequent use of high heels, or chronic sun damage. Patients who are at high risk for spider veins are also at greater risk for varicose veins, bulging veins that can cause discomfort and pain due to poor circulation and venous insufficiency, as well as blood clots or DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis). As a result, we often recommend lifestyle changes and frequent vein checks after a cosmetic spider vein treatment to ensure healthy blood flow and veins in patients.
In cases where spider veins are causing patients discomfort or are obvious and unsightly, our dermatology team will provide sclerotherapy treatments to eliminate these visible veins for a better cosmetic look. Sclerotherapy is comfortable, effective, and quick, providing immediate and remarkable results for patients.
Sclerotherapy is first-line treatment for unsightly spider veins on the legs, thighs and even around the ankles. In this process, a concentrated solution is injected through a tiny needle into the vein. The solution causes the vein to harden and turn to fibrous tissue before gradually being reabsorbed by the body. Blood is automatically rerouted to other, healthy veins, allowing for appropriate blood flow while the unsightly veins are destroyed. Treatment is relatively painless and takes a matter of just a few minutes.
Sclerotherapy treatment time is short, depending on the size of the area to be treated. The entire process can be performed with minimal discomfort to the patient. While the majority of treated vessels will disappear in 2-6 weeks, several treatment sessions are sometimes necessary. Any small veins unaffected by sclerotherapy can also be treated by a laser. Both are outpatient procedures performed right in our office requiring no sedation.
Following a sclerotherapy treatment, it is recommended that the patient not return to work that day. Instead, the legs should be kept elevated for the rest of the day at home. Normal activities may resume the following day. The best results are obtained if the patient wears elastic support stockings (called compression hose) for several weeks following treatment. Some patients may benefit from wearing these daily to prevent varicose veins as well.
Sclerotherapy works only for existing, visible blood vessels. Additional treatment sessions may be necessary if new spider veins appear. We may also recommend that you talk with a vein specialist should you continue to develop these types of veins so that you can be evaluated for varicose veins or other conditions related to poor circulation.