Sclerotherapy has been used to eliminate spider veins since the early twentieth century (1). It involves the injection of a sclerosing solution directly into the affected veins. This solution injures the vein wall and causes the vein itself to break down and disperse into the circulation.
Varicose veins and spider veins affect both men and women. In the United States, roughly 9 percent of men and 13 percent of women have varicose veins, and spider veins have been reported in 29 percent of men and 41 percent of women (2). Sclerotherapy can greatly improve the appearance of the affected part of the body and decrease the pain and discomfort associated with these vein conditions.
What Can I Expect During Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an out-patient procedure performed in the doctor’s office by a dermatologist or surgeon. Depending on which veins are affected, your doctor may have you sit or lie down with your legs slightly elevated. After cleansing the area with alcohol, the doctor will then use a syringe with a fine needle to slowly inject the solution into the vein(s). After removing the needle, the doctor will apply compression to the injection site with cotton and tape. (2) The doctor may also massage the area to ensure the solution disperses well throughout the vein. You will be able to move freely and walk around afterward.
How Long Does It Take to See the Results of Sclerotherapy?
In general, spider veins respond in 3-6 weeks, and larger veins respond in 3-4 months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before, so you may need to return for further injections. Note that individual results will depend on the size and number of vessels being treated and also on the patient’s willingness to comply with the instructions regarding use of compression bandages/hose and limits on exertion. (1)
Final Word on Sclerotherapy
The benefits of sclerotherapy are many and the risks few. Sclerotherapy can greatly improve the cosmetic appearance of the veins and ease the pain, burning, cramps, and “restless leg” syndrome that many patients describe. With the recent expansion of Saguaro Dermatology to our Mesa office, we are pleased to offer the services of an experienced dermatologic surgeon who can perform sclerotherapy. If you are looking for spider vein or varicose vein treatment in Phoenix or Mesa Arizona, talk to one of our friendly staff members at Saguaro Dermatology today.