Spider veins are troublesome cosmetic issues for some patients. Many women believe their arrival is inevitable, but they also affect men. One of the techniques a vein clinic uses to treat them is sclerotherapy.

What Exactly Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are small superficial vessels that become visible, typically on the legs, as they widen, according to PubMed Health. They are often linked to chronic venous disease.

Risk factors for developing these tiny vessels include pregnancy, family history, use of female hormones, trauma, using topical steroids and sitting or standing for long periods. Age and obesity can also be factors. While for most people they are a cosmetic annoyance, some patients coming in for Merced vein treatment report that these red, purple or blue veins cause pain, cramping, itching, throbbing, burning or a feeling of extreme fatigue in a limb.

Spider veins and varicose veins are not the same thing. Spider veins are actually capillaries. The University of Rochester Medical Center describes varicose veins as deeper, larger, a more vivid color and lumpy in appearance.

How Sclerotherapy Works

Modesto vein doctors use sclerotherapy to effectively treat both spider and varicose veins. It is the oldest and most common way to treat spider veins.

The procedure involves injecting an agent into affected veins. The irritation this triggers causes them to become scarred and less visible. Surgeons use a variety of sclerosing agents, among them a concentrated saline solution.

Temporary side effects at the site of the injection might include bruising, small skin sores, darkened skin, areas that are red and raised and multiple tiny blood vessels, according to the Mayo Clinic. Potential but uncommon side effects are inflammation, blood clots, air bubbles and allergic reactions to the solution.

As new veins appear, patients will need to return for additional treatment, sometimes every few years. Sclerotherapy is usually considered a cosmetic procedure and not covered by health insurance.

What to Expect

Before scheduling this procedure, a physician will want the patient’s complete medical history, including medications. In certain cases, it will be necessary to stop taking aspirin, NSAIDs or blood thinners for a specified period before surgery.

Surgeons perform sclerotherapy in an office versus hospital setting. It is a same-day procedure that takes approximately an hour to complete and requires no anesthesia.

Some individuals feel minor stinging or cramping once the physician inserts a needle to inject the solution. After the doctor withdraws the needle, he or she will apply compression and massage the area around the vein. The number of injections used is linked to the size and the number of veins being treated.

Patterson vascular surgeons who perform sclerotherapy might suggest wearing support stockings to speed healing and reduce bruising. While having a ride home after the procedure is a good idea, most individuals are able to resume their normal schedule the same day and receive instructions regarding exercising and avoiding the sun.

Patients who undergo sclerotherapy at a Turlock vein clinic can expect to see positive results in just three to six weeks.