Sclerotherapy (spider-vein removal)
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a microinjection procedure to treat spider veins. The procedure involves injection of a solution (called a sclerosing solution) into the small veins using a very fine, thin needle. This solution irritates the vein lining causing it to undergo fibrosis and eventually disappear. Multiple veins can be injected at each session. The sclerosing solution used includes either polidocanol or 23.4 per cent saline.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are most common in women in the age groups 30-50. This has been related to the hormone estrogen and pregnancy. Spider veins look like a network pattern in a circular fashion. These light purple veins usually appear in a lattice pattern and are completely harmless.
Where is the procedure performed?
It is done in our office. It generally does not require any type of anesthesia. The patient is asked to wear a pair of loose-fitting shorts and the spider veins are identified. With a very fine needle, these spider veins are injected with a chemical that will destroy the vein. There is minimal pain.
How many sclerotherapy treatments are required?
It varies from individual to individual but typically 2-4 treatments are required for the best results. In patients with milder cases, 1-2 will suffice. The treatments are more when there are more veins or slightly larger veins.
Do I have to limit any activity after the treatment?
Walking is highly recommended. Plan on walking 15-30 min immediately/soon after the procedure and continue this everyday for the next week. Walking an hour a day is ideal. Strenuous activity, weight lifting or high impact aerobics should be avoided for the first 2-3 days.
Is there any harm in removing these veins?
Spider veins have no function and removing does no harm. They are only removed because of aesthetic considerations. Spider veins (which are superficial veins) are not functioning properly have a negative impact on venous flow, so removing them should actually improve vein activity.