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Are you ready to finally address your spider veins? An often painful and uncomfortable condition, not to mention sometimes unsightly, spider veins are incredibly common and affect around 25% of all adults in America.
At Cumberland Skin, we provide professional diagnosis and treatment options for your spider veins to help you find relief, including sclerotherapy. Keep reading to find out more about this effective leg vein and spider vein treatment as well as helpful information on the condition as a whole.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a vein treatment for the removal of spider veins and smaller varicose veins. Veins are injected with a sterile chemical sclerant, which irritates the vessel’s lining, making it become inflamed and hardened. Over time, this damaged vein is absorbed into the surrounding tissue and fades away completely.
Once the spider vein is gone, blood circulation is carried out through healthy veins located deeper within the body, so the outward appearance and sometimes pain associated with the problem veins is significantly reduced.
First and foremost, it’s important to know spider veins and varicose veins are a bit different, however both result from the compromised function of deeper veins.
Spider veins refer to the smaller, reddish to purple veins near the surface of the skin that can be unsightly. They’re a milder variation of varicose veins and are usually treated in a dermatology setting using less-invasive treatments.
Varicose veins, on the other hand, are often enlarged, dilated, and overfilled with blood, and usually require treatment by a vascular surgeon, interventional radiologist, or other physician with expertise in removing these types of veins.
In our experience, patients can have pain ranging from a dull throbbing pain to a burning sensation. The larger vessels are more likely to cause discomfort, although smaller blue veins have been shown to cause pain.
So why do spider veins and varicose veins cause pain? This is most likely due to the pooling of blood in the vein. As the vein swells and blood backs up, this causes pressure, which is the source of “heaviness” or pain.
We highly recommend patients wear compression bandages or stockings following a sclerotherapy treatment. This helps to keep blood circulating and reduce the development of dark spots.
Furthermore, any discomfort after the spider vein treatment can be easily managed with over the counter pain medications and is alleviated by the use of compression bandages or support hose.
The amount of sclerotherapy treatments required for spider veins depends on the depth, number, and size of the veins being treated. While some patients are happy with the results after just one treatment, others may desire further injections for optimal results. Before the treatment, patients can determine the number of sessions they may need and the cost associated with the treatment by discussing their unique situation with a board-certified dermatologist.
In most cases, spider veins and varicose veins can’t be prevented. That said, there are a few things one can do to minimize unwanted blood vessels from forming. This may include:
- Wearing a support hose and compression socks.
- Keeping one’s weight at a normal level and exercising regularly may be helpful.
- Eating a high-fiber diet and wearing low-heeled shoes.
- And adequate sun protection is important to limit the number of unwanted vessels on the face.
However, it’s important to keep in mind these preventive measures are not 100% effective. And as mentioned above, spider veins and varicose veins can not be prevented.
While there might be some discomfort, sclerotherapy for spider veins is minimally-invasive and generally pain-free. Furthermore, anesthesia is not needed and complications are infrequent, making it a quick and relatively easy procedure.
Because sclerotherapy is a minimally-invasive procedure, very few side effects are associated with it. Some minor itching and burning immediately after the treatment is normal and quickly fades.
In rare cases, allergic reactions, infection at the injection site, or complications associated with poor injection technique are possible. The potential for side effects can be reduced by choosing an experienced, reputable specialist to administer the procedure, such as the board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin.