“Injecting a solution, called a sclerosing agent into the veins, called Sclerotherapy, is a popular method of eliminating superficial blood vessels commonly known as “spider veins.” This action irritates the lining of the blood vessel walls so the vessels seal off and gradually fade. Spider veins are usually inherited, beginning to appear in the teenage years and usually increasing with age. Pregnancy and obesity can exacerbate their development.” —Dr. Michele Grodberg
“This procedure will greatly improve, if not eliminate, spider veins in the majority of people. There is, however, no guarantee that sclerotherapy will be effective in every case.”
“The number of treatments needed to eliminate or improve the condition differs from patient to patient, depending on the extent of spider veins present. A single blood vessel may have to be injected more than once depending on its size and connection to other vessels. In any session, a number of vessels can be injected, however.”
“While sclerotherapy is a very safe procedure, certain side effects can occur regardless of the skill with which the treatment is performed, like stinging or pain at the injection site, swelling of the ankles or feet, or transient muscle cramps at the time of the procedure.
Approximately 30% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy notice discoloration after treatment in the form of light brown streaks or bruises. In almost every patient, the veins become darker immediately after the procedure. In rare instances, this darkening of the vein may persist for 6 to 12 months or even longer. It is very rare for any discoloration to be permanent.
A few patients may experience pain and bruising, usually at the site of the injection, but this varies greatly with the solution used. The vein may be tender to the touch after treatment, and an uncomfortable sensation may run along the vein route. This discomfort is usually temporary, in most cases lasting 1 to 7 days at most."
“People with significant circulatory problems, diabetes, bleeding disorders or a history of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) should not have this procedure. Any woman who is pregnant or planning pregnancy should not have this procedure.”
“Sclerotherapy currently remains the most common treatment for spider veins. Other treatments tend to be far more invasive. Vein stripping and/or ligation can be used to treat large varicose veins but generally requires a hospital stay and is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. Laser treatment is now available for treatment of leg veins but may cause pigmentation and is not effective on larger vessels.”
“Avoid all aspirin and aspirin related medications like ibuprofen (including Motrin® and Advil®) one week before and one week after each treatment because aspirin will increase the chance of bruising and will counteract the closing of the vessel walls.”
“Most patients, except those with the finest spider veins, will have the treated areas wrapped with a compression bandage after the procedure. The patient will be instructed to keep the legs wrapped for three days. The purpose is to increase the effectiveness of the procedure and to decrease the chance of any pigmentation.”
“Because it’s important to avoid the sun after the procedure so pigmentation can be minimized, the fall and winter are ideal times for this procedure. Wrapping legs in warmer weather might also be uncomfortable.”