Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment that has been used for decades to safely and effectively treat varicose and spider veins. Over half of Americans have been diagnosed with one of these conditions, and they often come with uncomfortable or painful side effects. Furthermore, these disordered veins can lead to serious health problems in the future. Today, our vein experts at Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA discuss sclerosant vein therapy.
Generally, if you are between the ages of 30 and 60, you will be considered a good candidate for this treatment. However, it may be right for you if you are in your 20s or older than 60. At the end of the day, the only way to tell if this treatment is right for you is to speak with a vein expert about your concerns and goals. Our goal for today is to give you a better idea about this treatment.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Generally, adults who are in relatively good health with concerns about spider veins or varicose veins are considered good candidates for sclerotherapy. However, there are some exceptions. For instance, it doesn’t matter how old or healthy you are if you are breastfeeding, trying to become pregnant, or pregnant. Also, you should not have this treatment until it has been more than 90 days since you last breastfed. To verify that you are a good candidate for this treatment, you need to attend an initial evaluation.
During this evaluation, we will evaluate your areas of concern, diagnose your problems, and talk about your overall and current health. It is also important to note that you need to have realistic expectations about the entire process to be considered a good candidate for this disordered vein treatment method. Finally, it is vital that you can follow all preparation and post-treatment care instructions.
Who Is a Poor Candidate for This Treatment?
You may be considered a good candidate for this treatment if you are bedridden. This is because walking regularly after your treatment is a very important post-treatment care step. If you have a history of certain clotting issues or blood clots that require regular attention then you may also be unsuitable for this treatment. Whether a history of blood clotting will disqualify you from this treatment depends on the cause and severity of the clotting.
Furthermore, you may be a poor fit for this treatment if your disordered veins could be used for a bypass procedure in the future. For example, this treatment may not be right for you if you have a disordered saphenous vein that may be needed for coronary artery bypass graft surgery. On the other hand, you may qualify for this treatment even if you have a disordered saphenous vein if the vein is disordered to the point of being unusable for a bypass graft.
How Should I Prepare for My Treatment Session?
Not taking blood thinners is one of the most important preparation steps you must follow prior to this treatment. It is important that you do not take any pharmaceuticals that could thin your blood in the 48 hours preceding your treatment because they may affect the sclerosing agent. If you need to take a painkiller prior to your treatment, take acetaminophen. Also, do not take prednisone within 48 hours of your treatment session.
Another important preparation step is to not apply lotion to the treatment area before your session. Before the sclerosant solution is injected into your disordered vein walls, the treatment area will be cleansed thoroughly. Any cosmetics applied to the area will be removed. If you are having varicose or spider veins removed from your lower legs, it is advisable to wear shorts to your treatment session.
What Post-Treatment Care Guidelines Should I Be Aware of?
During your initial consultation, we will provide you with a complete list of instructions you will need to follow after your treatment session. One of the most important steps you must take following your treatment is to not take any blood-thinning drugs or supplements for 48 hours post-treatment. Another very important step you must take is to not subject the treatment areas to excessive heat.
In other words, hot tubs and dry saunas are off the table for 48 hours following your treatment session. Furthermore, you should take a lukewarm shower for the first two days after your treatment instead of a steaming hot bath. Moreover, you should not exercise excessively, apply hot compresses or another form of heat to the treatment areas, or expose the treatment areas to direct UV rays. This includes both tanning beds and sun tanning.
What Can I Expect During My Treatment Session?
You can expect your sclerotherapy treatment session to take approximately 30 to 45 minutes to complete. Depending on where the disordered veins are located, you may be asked to lie on your stomach or back during the treatment process. Before your areas of concern are treated, we will inspect them to verify that the areas are not irritated. Then, we will clean the areas thoroughly.
Once your skin is prepared for treatment, the skin in the area of concern will be stretched taut. Then, we will inject the sclerosant solution into the disordered blood vessels. The solution contains an injectable anesthetic, so you shouldn’t expect any pain during the treatment process. If you have never received this treatment before, you may need to remain lying down for a quarter of an hour to ensure you respond to the treatment as you should.
Do I Need This Treatment?
During your initial consultation, we will advise you on whether you need sclerotherapy to treat your varicose or spider veins. However, regardless of whether this specific treatment is right for you, it is important to understand that your disordered veins need to be treated. Often, spider veins don’t have any symptoms associated with them besides skin discoloration. However, treating varicose veins is vital for your health.
Varicose veins don’t just cause such symptoms as pain, discomfort, and itching. They also threaten your health. For instance, varicose veins can lead to dermatitis, bleeding sores, and painful blood clots. As another example, depending on where your varicose veins develop, you may end up with deep vein thrombosis. If the blood clot breaks off of your deep vein, it could travel through your bloodstream and lodge itself in your lung.
What Are the Risk Factors of Varicose Veins?
There are a number of risk factors for developing varicose veins. One of the most significant factors is your lifestyle. If you are sedentary, it is far more likely that you will develop varicose veins because regular cardiovascular exercise supports a healthy circulatory system. The stronger your circulatory system is, the less likely it is that your blood pressure will be excessively high. Furthermore, it is less likely that blood will pool and cause swelling.
An unhealthy diet is a significant risk factor for developing varicose veins. If you consume too much sodium and caffeine, there is a good chance that you will struggle with high blood pressure. If you have naturally high blood pressure and have a diet that is high in sodium, you may want to add a little extra potassium to your diet to help moderate your blood pressure. Also, keep in mind that medications and certain foods, not just drinks, contain caffeine.
What Should I Do To Reduce My Chance of Getting Varicose Veins?
To mitigate your risk of developing varicose veins in the future, you should avoid tobacco use and only drink alcohol in moderation.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
Most people who get sclerotherapy are between the ages of 30 and 60. However, you may still be considered a good candidate even if you are in your 20s or older than your 60s. It is also important to keep in mind that you need to be pretty healthy to qualify for this vein therapy technique, and you cannot be pregnant or breastfeeding. Furthermore, you will not be considered a good candidate for this treatment if you have breastfed within 90 days of the treatment.
The only way to find out whether this treatment is right for you is to attend an initial evaluation. If you have varicose or spider veins, contact us today at Nunnally Dermatology in Baton Rouge, LA to schedule your initial sclerotherapy consultation. We will evaluate your health, concerns, and goals to determine the best treatment method for you.