Many Houston area women and men have spider veins, also called telangiectasias, which are small, dilated blood vessels near the surface of the skin. They appear most often on the face, nose and legs. There are two treatment options to eliminate spider veins: sclerotherapy (injection of a special fluid into the veins) and Intense Pulsed Light treatment. Both treatments cause disappearance of the veins. Although both treatments for spider veins will lighten the veins, they will not be obliterated with just one treatment. The number of treatments varies among patients, but the average number is three. These treatments are scheduled approximately four weeks apart.
Sclerotherapy, and Intense Pulsed Light, is used almost exclusively for treatment of small leg veins, ie, 5 mm in diameter or smaller, also known as spider veins. Larger veins, if not working correctly, need to be treated first by a general or vascular surgeon. These larger dilated blood vessels are more commonly referred to as varicose veins, and require a different form of specialized treatment.
What to Expect in your Sclerotherapy Treatment
During your sclerotherapy treatment, a special solution is injected through a thin needle into the vein(s) to damage the lining inside the vein, causing the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut. No anesthesia is required for this treatment, and after healing has occurred the vein will no longer be obvious.
The special solution that is injected directly into the affected veins is usually salt water. You may experience some brief discomfort during the procedure, which can last about as long as 30 minutes. The number of veins that can be treated during a single sclerotherapy session depends upon their size and location, in addition to the overall health of the individual undergoing treatment. While the effects are permanent on existing problem areas, patients should expect to return for injections when new spider veins appear.
The legs and face can appear worse before the spider veins lighten up, which occurs after 5-7 days. Bruising can be covered with make-up. These telangiectasias usually do not recur; however, new ones may develop in other areas. Patients may require multiple treatments to completely remove all of their telangiectasias due to limitations regarding the number of veins that can be removed in a single procedure.
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure that is performed in the familiar and comfortable environment of our professional office. Patients are sent home the very same day, and recovery time is minimal. Those who decide to undergo a sclerotherapy treatment should expect to abstain from intense physical activity for a few days after the procedure, before returning to their normal routine.