Laser & Sclerotherapy
Spider Vein Treatments
What are spider veins?
Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are those tiny purple and red blood vessels found most commonly on the thighs or lower legs. They are usually hereditary and can run from the top of the thigh to the ankle and foot. Occasionally, spider veins appear on the face.
Varicose veins are larger. They can appear raised with a bluish color and can become quite painful. For varicose veins, we will refer you to our Physician, Dr. Joel Erickson, who is a cardiologist and vascular specialist. However, if your concern is the smaller vessels, we can eliminate them permanently through a simple office procedure.
Laser Treatment vs. Sclerotherapy
These days with the vast technological advances of lasers, we prefer to eradicate bothersome spider veins with amplified light. Using the laser method of clearing vessels eliminates the need to wear uncomfortable compression stockings post treatment. Laser treatments also reduce the risk of other problems, such as, injection site ulcerations and consequent hyperpigmentation marks (dark spots). However, there are a small number of people who do not respond successfully to the laser treatment. For those persons, we will suggest a different method called sclerotherapy.
What is Sclerotherapy?
The Sclerotherapy treatment was developed in the 1920’s. During the procedure, a sclerosing solution is injected into the vein through a micro-needle. The tiny needle generally causes very little pain. The sclerosing solution causes the vein to blanch (turn white), then gradually disappear. A typical treatment may last for 15 to 20 minutes and consist of multiple injections.
Will Sclerotherapy work on my veins?
Prior to treatment, we will review your complete medical history to determine how long you have had a problem with your veins and the severity of the problem. We need to know if the problem is exacerbated by physical activity and if there has been any prior surgery or treatment on your veins. The doctor may test to determine if the venous system is affected. If it is, surgery may be advised before Sclerotherapy is attempted.
What are the treatments like?
First, we thoroughly cleanse the area to be treated with alcohol. The larger veins are usually treated first. Using a syringe fitted with a micro-needle, your practitioner will inject a small amount of sclerosing agent into the vein. Sclerosing solution displaces the blood within the vein. It then causes irritation to the lining of the vein, causing it swell shut. The needle is withdrawn and pressure to the area is applied immediately. While each vein may require several injections, most disappear in two weeks to two months. Most Sclerotherapy patients report little if any discomfort. A few may experience a mild burning sensation when we inject the solution, but it stops in a few seconds.
Will my insurance pay for Spider Vein treatment?
The cost of Spider Vein eradication depends on the number of treatments required. Since it is a cosmetic procedure, it may not be covered by your insurance. However, some insurance companies will pay benefits depending on the individual situation.
How many treatments will I need?
Complete correction of the treated area is not expected on the first treatment. In most cases, about 50-70% of the treated vessels will be gone for good. However, new veins may appear and additional treatments are generally required for optimum results. These treatments may be in two week intervals. In some cases the treatments sessions can be even closer. Your practitioner will discuss this schedule with you at the time of your consultation.
What is recovery like?
With Injection Sclerotherapy, you will be asked to wear special heavy-duty stockings to help keep pressure on the veins. This will reduce bruising and help keep the treated veins closed.
With Laser Treatment, you will NOT require compression stockings. We will want you to keep the treated area exposed to the air by either remaining uncovered or wearing loose clothing for the first 24 hours. Tight clothing can trap the laser heat in and potentially cause an unwanted reaction, such as blistering.
For BOTH Spider Vein Treatments
Bruises around the treated areas usually disappear after the first week. A tan or brownish pigment may persist for six to eight weeks when larger veins are involved. Occasionally, small clots can develop at the injection site. These are not a cause for concern and may be removed to allow for further healing. Patients are generally encouraged to resume normal activities immediately. We do ask that you refrain from vigorous activities for the first 24 hours, and no high impact activities for two weeks. Walking is encouraged because it increases blood flow through the other veins. Although your final results may not be apparent for several months, most patients experience a 70% to 95% improvement.