While spider veins and varicose veins are common conditions that are usually benign, many people who have visible leg veins feel self-conscious about their legs. One of the best ways to get rid of spider veins and varicose veins is with a treatment like sclerotherapy. Learn everything you need to know about this minimally invasive vein treatment before you schedule your first appointment at Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA.
How Effective Is Sclerotherapy?
According to research, sclerotherapy is effective for removing visible leg veins 75% to 90% of the time, making it a much more reliable treatment than other vein treatments, such as laser therapy. Because this treatment is so effective for removing small to large visible leg veins, it’s often considered a conservative treatment approach and may be recommended before other treatments, such as surgery.
How Many Treatments Do You Need?
To get the most out of your treatment, you likely need at least one or two treatments, depending on the number of visible veins you have and the severity of your vein condition. Treating multiple small spider veins may be done in a single treatment, while treating very large varicose veins may require two to three appointments.
How Does This Treatment Work?
This is a minimally invasive treatment that injects a chemical into the affected vein that causes the vein to collapse. This treatment is considered very safe, since the chemical used for the injection is well tolerated by the vast majority of people. The minimally invasive nature of this treatment also means that there is very little risk of scarring or hyperpigmentation.
When the vein wall of the affected vein collapses after the injection, blood flow from that vein will be directed to nearby healthy veins. Over time, the affected vein will be absorbed into the body and fade from view.
What Should You Do Before Treatment?
There are several things you will need to do before your treatment. On the day before your appointment, you should shave your legs and avoid applying any skincare products to the desired treatment areas. On the day of your appointment, you should wear loose, comfortable clothing, such as linen pants or a skirt, to make your treatment more comfortable. You may need to temporarily stop using blood thinning medications, certain herbal supplements, and iron supplements a few days before your appointment.
You will need to attend a consultation and physical examination before your appointment. During your consultation, you will need to disclose medical information such as the medications you’re currently taking and any physical conditions you may have, especially heart conditions or blood clot conditions. If you have tried other treatments for varicose veins and spider veins in the past, be sure to mention these treatments to your physician.
In addition to a physical examination, your doctor may ask you to complete ultrasound testing. Having an ultrasound view of the affected veins can make your treatment more precise. An ultrasound may be necessary if your leg veins are causing any symptoms, including pain, itching, or burning. The ultrasound test will ensure your leg veins are viable for this treatment.
What Should You Do After Treatment?
After your treatment, you will usually be able to walk around and resume most of your normal daily activities, including work and errands. In general, it’s a good idea to move around after your appointment for the best results. At home, you should walk around for 10 to 20 minutes every hour for the first day or so.
Although walking and moving around are essential for your recovery, you will need to avoid strenuous exercise for at least two weeks. It’s also a good idea to avoid exposing your legs to hot tubs and very hot water. You should do your best to avoid direct contact with the sun as well.
As part of your recovery process, you may be required to wear compression stockings for at least two weeks after your treatment. Compression stockings or leggings can keep pressure on the treated veins, which can help redirect blood flow to nearby healthy veins and help the treated veins be absorbed by the body more easily. Compression stockings should be worn for most of the day every day.
How Long Is the Recovery Process?
The bulk of your recovery process after this treatment will be in the first two weeks following your appointment. After the first two weeks, you should be able to resume most of your normal daily activities, including physical exercise such as running or weight training. Your full recovery process may take as long as one month if you are treating very large veins or if you have had to schedule a second appointment to treat large veins.
During your recovery process, you will usually need to attend a follow-up appointment at least one month after your treatment. During this follow-up appointment, your doctor will examine how well your veins are responding to this treatment. Part of the follow-up may include determining whether you need a second or third treatment to achieve your desired results.
How Soon Will You See the Results?
Because the affected vein must be absorbed by the body, the results of this treatment are gradual. If you’re treating smaller spider veins or varicose veins, you may notice results three to six weeks after your initial treatment. If you are treating very large varicose veins, the results may take three to four months to develop.
Since this treatment takes some time to show results, it’s best to schedule your treatment appointments at least four to six months before any special events. This will ensure that the vein has been absorbed by the body well before a special occasion, particularly if your doctor believes you will require more than one treatment for optimal results.
Can You Prevent Leg Vein Issues in the Future?
While the results of this treatment are considered permanent because treated veins will not rise back to the surface of the skin, it’s possible to develop varicose veins and spider veins again in the future. Leg vein concerns are often associated with lifestyle factors, so losing weight or exercising more can be a good way to prevent varicose veins and spider veins from developing again.
What Causes Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
There are several causes of spider veins and varicose veins. As benign conditions, these veins are not usually associated with circulatory or cardiovascular health concerns, so having visible leg veins is not usually a sign that you have poor health or a medical condition. The most common causes of spider veins and varicose veins include:
Many women develop spider veins and varicose veins in response to shifting hormones associated with pregnancy, monthly cycle fluctuations, and even menopause. Spider veins and varicose veins may also develop as a result of the weight gain associated with pregnancy, which is why it’s important for pregnant women to monitor weight gain and exercise. Sometimes these vein concerns are also caused by certain forms of birth control and hormone therapy.
Lifestyle factors can also make it easy to develop spider veins and varicose veins. These lifestyle factors can include being considered overweight or obese by the BMI scale, since more weight on your body means that there is more stress on the veins in your legs. Standing on your feet or sitting for a long time every day can also cause varicose veins or spider veins to develop. Another risk factor for these vein conditions is tobacco use.
Injuries and Sun Exposure
Injuries to your legs and unprotected sun exposure can sometimes be the cause of varicose veins and spider veins. Major bruises on the legs can cause spider veins to rise to the surface, while unprotected exposure to the sun can expose the veins in your leg because of skin damage.
Are You a Good Candidate?
You are usually considered a good candidate for sclerotherapy treatments if you have mild to moderate spider veins or varicose veins. Candidates for this treatment include people who are not interested in surgery or who have not had success with other treatments for visible leg concerns. You are not a candidate if you are pregnant or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in the injectable treatment.
Try Sclerotherapy for Your Visible Vein Concerns
If you are self-conscious about the appearance of spider veins or varicose veins, you may want to consider a treatment such as sclerotherapy to improve your visible vein concerns. This treatment is effective for the vast majority of people and can produce long-lasting results. Reach out to us at Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA to schedule a consultation today.