What is it?
This treatment, known as sclerotherapy, is a procedure to remove unattractive small but enlarged veins, commonly known as spider veins. These veins, most commonly found on the legs and ankles, serve no purpose so can be removed. A solution is injected into your veins to irritate the vein lining, causing a small harmless clot which halts the blood flow and causes the vein to disappear.
Sclerotherapy takes place as an office procedure, with each session taking 30 minutes or more. No more than one to three areas are usually treated at a time; so for extensive treatment you may need several visits. Most patients do experience slight discomfort during the injection, which is caused by irritation from the substance injected, and this will settle down.
Most patients experience minimal pain during the injection. Any discomfort is usually related to the irritation caused by the substance injected into the vein. Following the treatment, pressure may be applied to the injected area for 24 to 36 hours. The injections will usually be done two or three times over several weeks or months. Normal activity may be resumed immediately, and daily walks of at least 20 minutes are strongly encouraged.
You can expect to see an improvement within several weeks, but full results can take several months to show. Depending on the severity of your condition, repeat treatment may be necessary.
Is it safe?
Complications related to this procedure are unusual, and most patients are very pleased with their results. However, potential complications include ulceration, which may cause scarring, discoloration and reddish blotches, which will normally disappear in six months to a year, and formation of new spider veins or sunburst blemishes. Any surgical procedure carries a certain level of risk, and patients should always discuss all the risks and benefits with their doctor. Individual results may vary, consult your doctor to make sure you are a good candidate.
Note: None of the above is intended as medical advice.