Sclerotherapy to Reduce Varicose Veins
Varicose and spider veins can cause discomfort and make you want to cover up your legs. The most common non-surgical treatment for unsightly, bulging veins is sclerotherapy, an injection directly into the blood vessels that causes them to shrink and become less noticeable. Columbia Skin Clinic offers sclerotherapy to treat varicose veins and spider veins, so you feel comfortable showing off your skin.
Varicose veins are caused by damaged valves that do not move blood throughout the body properly. Veins have valves with a flap that keeps blood moving to the heart. When the flap does not close, blood leaks back into the vein and begins to pool. Pressure from the blood and weakening of the vein over time cause it to bulge. The bulging vein can become twisted, enlarged and visible to the eye.
The most common place to develop varicose veins is the legs because they are the longest distance from the heart, so they work harder to carry blood.
Spider veins are a smaller version of varicose veins. They are usually closer to the skin’s surface and may look red or blue. While varicose veins are often on the legs, spider veins can be on other parts of the body. Sclerotherapy injections also work for spider veins.
Why do I have varicose veins?
You may have a higher risk of developing varicose veins if your relatives also have them. Women tend to develop them more often than men. Other risk factors of varicose veins include:
If you sit for long periods of time due to your job or your lifestyle, the veins in your legs work harder to pump blood to the heart., which can cause them to weaken.
People who are overweight or obese tend to have a higher risk of developing varicose veins because of the extra pressure on their veins.
Women who have had children are more likely to develop varicose veins during pregnancy because the body produces and pumps more blood for the unborn baby.
The valves in our veins can weaken with age, causing them to work harder to pump blood to the heart.
Other medical conditions
If you have a history of blood clots, your veins may be damaged or scarred, which causes the valves to weaken and blood circulation to be compromised.
What is sclerotherapy treatment?
Sclerotherapy is a common cosmetic procedure for treating varicose and spider veins. A dermatologist will inject a solution into the affected blood vessels with a fine needle. The solution injected into the veins is a safe chemical called sclerosant that acts as an irritant and causes the vein to swell shut and prohibit blood from re-entering it. The veins shrink when the flow of blood is halted. Blood is naturally re-routed into healthy veins after the damaged veins stop working.
While the procedure is focused on reducing the appearance of varicose and spider veins, it can help improve other symptoms like aching, swelling and night cramps. You will see results in varicose veins in three to four months. Spider veins are smaller veins closer to the skin, so you should see results in three to six weeks.
After the varicose vein injections, you can return to your daily activities the next day. You will be given a compression stocking for each leg treated. You may have to wear the socks for up to three weeks. You should plan to take daily walks to increase circulation and reduce any side effects.
You may need several varicose vein injections to see the results you want. Most veins will disappear in two weeks to two months.
Are there side effects of sclerotherapy injections?
During the procedure, your doctor may massage the solution to disperse it throughout the area, which can cause bruising. As with any procedure involving needles, there may be red marks at the injection site. You may also see raised red areas, a skin sore or spots or the appearance of tiny red blood vessels after the injection, but they will fade.
Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth are advised to wait three months before having sclerotherapy injections.
There are additional risks of sclerotherapy, but they are rare. In less than one in 1,000 cases, patients may develop an infection. Formation of blood clots in the veins, inflammation and an allergic reaction to the solution may occur.
Your dermatologist will discuss the risks and ask for your medical history to ensure you are a candidate for sclerotherapy for varicose veins.
Schedule a consultation for sclerotherapy
The board-certified dermatologists at Columbia Skin Clinics offer injectable procedures like sclerotherapy to minimize the appearance of varicose and spider veins. Schedule an appointment today to discuss your options and see if sclerotherapy injections can help you look and feel your best.