For years, healthcare providers have advised patients that varicose veins and spider veins are purely a cosmetic issue, that they don’t cause symptoms and should be ignored. Now, advancements in the understanding of vein disorders and their treatment has spawned the new medical specialty, Phlebology, the study of vein disorders. Much of the recent knowledge of vein disorders hasn’t reached the majority of health providers. This may leave the patient with inaccurate or inadequate information. Phlebologists are vein treatment doctors who are uniquely qualified to help in the understanding of the significance of venous disease and how it can be treated.
We feel it is important for our patients to understand the cause of varicose and spider veins, what symptoms are associated with them and what vein treatments can be done to alleviate symptoms and to improve the health of veins in the legs.
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Sclerotherapy uses injections from a very fine, thin needle to treat spider veins and varicose veins in the legs. A sterile sclerosing solution is injected directly into the spider or varicose veins. This solution causes the vein to scar, which forces blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into the local tissue and eventually fades. This treatment also alleviates the symptoms of varicose veins (aching, burning sensations, swelling and cramping).
What to expect after Sclerotherapy
Visual vs. Duplex-Guided Sclerotherapy
Duplex-Guided Ultrasound Treatment
How does the Sclerotherapy work?
Using a very fine needle, spider or varicose veins are directed injected with a solution called a sclerosant. This solution damages the internal lining of the vein and causes it to scar. In time, your body will reabsorb the vein and it will disappear.
Are Sclerotherapy treatments painful?
Dr. Warren uses a minimally-invasive technique using a catheter to inject the sclerosant. Both the catheter and sclerosant are guided to the affected vein using duplex ultrasound. The chemical sclerosant that is injected can cause a burning or cramping for a few minutes in the treatment area.
How long will it take to heal after treatment?
Sclerotherapy does not generally require any recovery period. You will be able to walk right after your treatment, however Dr. Warren recommends relaxing for a day or two; avoid strenuous exercise; and avoid exposing your legs to the sun for the first few weeks after treatment.
Will I need to wear Compression Stockings?
You will need to wear compression stockings for a short time after your treatment.
What can I expect after a Sclerotherapy treatment?
Often veins look worse after a sclerotherapy treatment. Sometimes the day following the injections and up to two to fourteen days or longer, veins appear mosquito bitten and bruised. They may itch and have some initial tenderness with signs of inflammation. This inflammation is what occludes and actually causes the disappearance of these veins. Larger veins can feel like a cord under the skin. This cord can be tender and knots can be felt. Often the vein can feel tight along its course. These are all expected signs and symptoms and can be managed by using compression stockings, ice, Tylenol and walking. Generally, there is no down time after sclerotherapy and often can be done over your lunch hour. You will be wearing compression therapy for 2 – 3 hours so you may want to wear long pants or a skirt to cover the bandages. After your first treatment, you may notice that many of the veins haven’t disappeared. This is normal and does not mean you are not responding to the therapy.
Who should not receive Sclerotherapy treatments?
You should not have Sclerotherapy if:
• You are pregnant or nursing
• You have a history of allergy to sclerosant or a similar substance
• You have blood clots or inflammation in the deep leg veins, i.e. deep vein thrombosis.