VEIN TREATMENT Q & A
How Are Diseased Veins Treated?
Typically, physicians will first recommend a conservative approach. This may include patients using compression stockings, minimizing time spent on their feet, and increasing exercise. Conservative treatment cannot repair damaged blood vessels but may prevent additional spider veins and varicose veins from developing.
If conservative treatment methods do not prevent new varicose and spider veins, physicians may recommend sclerotherapy, the most common treatment of spider veins and small varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins. The procedure is minimally invasive without the need of anesthesia. Sclerotherapy treats spider veins visible at the surface of the skin. Physicians also use sclerotherapy aided by ultrasound guidance to treat veins that are deeper under the skin surface.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a substance called a sclerosant into a diseased vein. The sclerosant causes the vein to close by shrinking the inside of the vein.
What to Expect from Sclerotherapy?
Patients usually need multiple sclerotherapy treatments to eliminate all spider veins. The amount of sclerotherapy sessions required depends on the size, location, and number of veins. Procedures are scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart but can vary based on each patient.
What Are Benefits of Sclerotherapy?
- Safe, minimally invasive, and extremely effective
- Improves cosmetic appearance
- Relieves burning, itching, swelling, and aching associated with vein disease
- Foam method increases surface area of sclerosant for improved results
- Office-based procedure
- A recovery period after treatment is not required
What Happens During Sclerotherapy?
During foam sclerotherapy, a sclerosant medication is mixed with carbon dioxide in a syringe to turn it into foam. Physicians then inject this into the patient’s vein with a small needle, using ultrasound to guide the needle and medication into its desired location. This may be repeated, with the procedure lasting 45 minutes or less, depending on size and number of veins requiring treatment during the session.
The mixture will irritate the walls of the veins, causing them to close. Over time, the patient’s body will dissolve the treated veins and the spider veins will disappear.
What to Expect After Sclerotherapy?
After sclerotherapy, doctors prescribe compression stockings to aid in the vein resolution process. Generally, patients experience no downtime and can resume normal activities immediately after treatment. Typically, patients notice spider veins begin to fade within 2 to 3 weeks, with most gone by 4 to 6 weeks. Larger veins or ones of the foot or ankle may take longer to resolve, up to 2 to 3 months after treatment.