Sclerotherapy: What is it?
Sclerotherapy is a technique that involves the injection of a foamy solution into spider veins which causes the spider veins to shrivel and gradually disappear. Sclerotherapy solutions have been around since the turn of the century. Saline — strong salt solutions — were used until more advanced sclerosant medications yielded better results and better patient comfort.
Are Sclerotherapy injections painful?
Most people find the sclerotherapy injections only mildly uncomfortable. No anesthesia is required. The comfort level is optimized in my office by using very tiny needles, and use of smaller concentrations of solution for smaller veins. Some practitioners use saline, but I have found this to be more uncomfortable for the patient, and not quite as effective.
Spider Veins: How long do they take to disappear?
Small spider veins require about 2-4 months to completely fade, whereas larger varicose veins may require 6 to 9 months to disappear. They may be hard and tender for a few weeks following treatment. Brown staining of the skin is sometimes seen where the veins were located, but this can fade within a few months.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy Treatment
Often time patients have sclerotherapy or laser procedures completed with some results and decrease of the spider veins, just to have the veins reappear in a few months. In these cases, the source for the vein pressure wells from below the skin surface in a web of veins called reticular veins. If the larger reticular veins are not dealt with, the surface spider veins will never go away.
In this case, larger reticular veins and spider veins can be closed using ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy. A foamy sclerosant solution is injected directly into the larger reticular veins and spider veins. Ultrasound guidance is used for the deeper veins. The foam sclerotherapy solution causes a chemical burn to the small veins. The veins collapse and with compression stick together. The vein walls heal together causing the vein to no longer act as a vein. The body absorbs the tissue over a few months.
An ultrasound machine is an amazing bit of technology that enables one to see veins that are hidden under the surface of the skin. Often, these hidden veins are the “culprits” that are causing problems further down the leg. The valves in these veins may be damaged, allowing blood to flow backwards into the calves. Eventually this will result in bulging of the calf veins, and uncomfortable and unattractive spider veins and varicose veins. With the aid of the ultrasound machine, the injections can be guided quickly and accurately to find the veins that need to be injected.The Vein Viewer is also used to see veins below the skin surface. Our office is the first surgery office in the state of Tennessee to offer the Vein Viewer for spider vein sclerotherapy.
Call 423-648-4012 to request a FREE vein screening!