Approximately 80% of men and 85% of women are diagnosed with spider or varicose veins at some point in their lifetime.
While they are most common in those with a family history of the condition, they can affect anyone at any age due to various outside factors, such as pregnancy or weight gain.
Most patients do not have any severe underlying conditions that causes spider or varicose veins. Still, many feel they are unsightly, especially if they are widespread in their spider-web-like formation on the lower legs.
One of the most effective and minimally invasive ways to treat spider and varicose veins is with sclerotherapy. This outpatient procedure provides minimal downtime with long-term results.
Let’s explore varicose veins and sclerotherapy in more detail, including precisely what varicose veins are, their symptoms, and how to prepare for treatment.
First, What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that appear on the skin’s surface. They are most commonly found on the legs and thighs. They become noticeable, even without symptoms, by giving off a blueish-purple color and spider-web-like appearance.
Varicose veins occur when healthy veins become overfilled with blood due to poor circulation.
They are most often caused by
- Standing or sitting for long periods
- Poor circulation
The most common symptom of varicose veins is one or more veins that appear lumpy and twisted on the lower legs.
Other common symptoms include
- Uncomfortable legs
- Swollen calves, feet, and ankles
- Muscle cramping, especially at night
- Color changes in your legs, especially around the affected veins
- “HASTI” symptoms: heaviness, aching, swelling, throbbing, and itching
- Restlessness, affecting your ability to sleep
The best way to alleviate the symptoms and appearance of these veins is to opt for sclerotherapy treatment.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient venous procedure that helps to remove inadequate surface veins.
It is an ideal option for those living with spider or varicose veins. In fact, it is often considered the treatment of choice for smaller varicose veins on the legs.
It is used for both symptom relief and cosmetic reasons.
How to Prepare for Sclerotherapy
As with any type of treatment or procedure, minimal or not, preparation is key.
Before treatment, your doctor will examine the affected area and associated veins, perform a physical exam, and review your medical history to ensure you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy.
In some instances, especially for those with more prominent or more widespread varicose veins, a leg ultrasound may be performed to ensure there are no underlying vein problems.
On the day of your treatment, you should avoid shaving your legs or applying any lotions or oils to your legs. Wear loose-fitting pants or shorts, and bring a pair of compression stockings to put on before leaving the office.
Before your treatment date, it is essential to speak with your doctor about the exact type of stockings you need, along with any other specific instructions.
How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure that is performed by inserting a solution into the damaged veins via targeted, tiny injections.
Once the solution enters the veins, it follows a twofold method by
- Forcing blood to reroute to healthier veins
- Collapsing damaged veins through natural body reabsorption.
After sclerotherapy, treated veins fade from the skin’s surface within a few weeks.
More than one sclerotherapy treatment session may be recommended for those with extensive varicose veins.
How Is Sclerotherapy Performed?
On the day of the procedure, you’ll lie on your back with your legs elevated.
First, the targeted area will be cleaned with alcohol.
Once properly cleaned, your doctor will use a fine needle to inject a solution into the affected veins.
The liquid solution in the injection works by irritating the lining of the vein. This causes it to swell shut and block blood flow through the vein completely.
After each injection, your doctor will apply compression and massage the area to keep blood out of the vein while helping to disperse the solution entirely.
The number of injections you receive depends on the number and size of the veins being treated.
Before beginning a new treatment regimen, speak with a vein specialist to ensure you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy treatment.
Effective Sclerotherapy Treatment in North Carolina
If you’ve recently developed spider or varicose veins, have been living with them for a while, or are experiencing worsening symptoms consistent with this condition, our skilled team is here to help.
After a thorough exam and diagnosis, you will receive a detailed overview of the best vein treatment options for your specific health needs. Our vein care specialists are experts in advanced vein care procedures and technologies, including sclerotherapy. Call 336-536-6522 to schedule an appointment today.