Sclerotherapy treatment has been evolving for over 150 years and is now the most effective non-surgical method of treating spider veins, smaller varicose veins, and minor venous malformations. This is done by injecting target veins with a sclerosant solution that dries out the tiny cells lining the blood vessels and causes the vein to collapse; the body then absorbs the vein naturally over a period of weeks.
For treatment of larger veins, Sclerotherapy is paired with ultrasonographic guidance (also called sonogram-guided or ultrasound-guided), where the doctor uses an ultrasound machine to see the map of veins beneath the skin and precisely administer and monitor the injection of the target vein.
In severe cases, a multilevel approach may be necessary for satisfying results, whereby a doctor combines a preferred laser treatment with Sclerotherapy to eliminate the spider veins and the feeder vein network (also called reticular or blue veins) beneath them that causes the spider veins to form.
Sclerotherapy is an effective procedure for all skin types and colors; however, the ideal candidate for this treatment is a healthy person who wishes to treat unsightly spider veins and small varicose veins. Women who are planning to become pregnant or encouraged to wait until after pregnancy it causes veins to surface and undoes effects of the treatment.
This treatment is not recommended for people who suffer from any cardiovascular or blood-related medical conditions, or those who are obese. Various blood-thinning medications can also put people at risk. With Sclerotherapy, in particular, you need to talk to your doctor about your medical history to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for treatment.
Sclerotherapy treatment requires injections, so it is not a painless procedure, but is usually tolerable enough to be performed without anesthesia or pain medication.
This treatment requires you to first change into shorts for easy access to the treatment site. Depending on the type of treatment, a special vein light or ultrasound device may be used to see the veins to be injected, but often times neither is necessary. After cleansing the surface, multiple injections are made into the target vein with a small, fine needle, causing a pinch that feels somewhat like a quick burn or mosquito bite.
After treatment the leg(s) is compressed with compression stockings or bandages to be worn for a minimum of 2 weeks post treatment.
Sclerotherapy takes 15 to 45 minutes.
Pricing is dependent on how many veins are being treated. Expect $200 – $1,000 per session
You can resume activities as usual immediately following Sclerotherapy, but must refrain from vigorous activities and excessive standing for at least a week post treatment. Your leg(s) are covered with compression stockings, and there may be some redness, swelling, darkened veins, or bruising beneath them, but all will resolve completely within 1 or 2 weeks. It is common for the treatment site to appear pigmented, particularly in people with darker complexions, and it may take several months to a year to resolve.
After Sclerotherapy treatment results appear gradually; veins begin to disappear over the course of 3 weeks to 3 months. On average, 80 percent of the treated veins disappear after each Sclerotherapy session. This treatment also has a very high success rate for eliminating the pain and discomfort associated with spider and varicose veins.
Because Sclerotherapy treats only visible veins and not the underlying venous system that causes them to appear, it is common for veins to reappear 1 to 5 years after treatment. Sclerotherapy treatment also does not prevent new veins from forming, so reoccurrence can happen sooner. However, it is possible to preserve results and prevent new veins from surfacing by maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.
Typically, it takes 3 or 4 Sclerotherapy sessions spaced at least 1 month apart before treated veins disappear. In more severe cases, 6 or more sessions may be necessary for satisfying results.
Only aboard-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon who specializes in Sclerotherapy should administer this treatment. Board certification from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), American Society Of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), or the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) ensures that the doctor meets nationally recognized standards for education, knowledge, experience and skills to safely and effectively administer this treatment.
For a week or so after treatment make sure to move your legs regularly and walk as much as possible…plan for a few pit stops to walk around on that scenic drive out to the country.
No one knows the exact cause of spider veins other than they’re hereditary…but they are triggered by hormonal changes, pregnancy, leg injury, or weight gain…because those aren’t enough to deal with.
On the bright side, it takes these veins years to develop and Sclerotherapy a matter of months to eliminate them…don’t you just love technology?
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