What are spider veins, and what causes them?
Spider veins are small varicose veins that can be treated with sclerotherapy. They can be blue, red, or purple, and they usually twist much like a spider’s web. Spider veins are visible through the skin and may bulge above the surface of skin. Essentially, spider veins are non-functional veins with backed-up blood, causing the veins to appear under the surface. Many people experience aching pains in areas with spider veins.
People develop spider veins because of damaged valves in their veins. The damaged valves cause blood to pool near the skin surface. Some factors that contribute to spider veins are genetics, age, hormones, obesity, and trauma to the skin. It is estimated that around 90% of people with spider veins have a family history of them. Whenever a person builds up extra pressure inside their veins, spider veins can develop.
How are spider veins treated?
There are several treatment options for spider veins including compression stockings, laser treatment, and surgery. The most common treatment is sclerotherapy, which involves an injection of medicine into the veins. The medicine stops blood from flowing through the spider veins and forces it to go to healthier veins. Sclerotherapy causes spider veins to shrink and disappear.
Are there any risks associated with sclerotherapy?
When performed by a trained healthcare provider, sclerotherapy is very safe and effective. There is a very small risk (less than 1 in 1000 cases) of an infection. Few people might have a small, permanent scar or inflammation. Allergic reactions or blood clots are unlikely but possible. If you experience any signs of infection, difficulty breathing, dizziness, or chest pain after sclerotherapy, contact a healthcare provider immediately.
What is the sclerotherapy procedure like?
Before the procedure, your doctor will give you specific instructions on how to prepare. The sclerotherapy treatment lasts around 40 minutes. During the procedure, a professional will use a tiny needle to inject the medicine into your spider vein. They might use an ultrasound to precisely guide the needle. For larger veins, you might feel a slight burning sensation, but the pain should go away within a few minutes.
What should I expect after sclerotherapy?
After your procedure, you should follow any advice your doctor gives you. You might be instructed to wear compression stockings, which prevent new spider veins from developing and aid with recovery. You will be able to return to normal activities immediately.
Spider veins typically take 4-12 weeks to respond to sclerotherapy. When treatment is successful, the veins disappear. However, some patients require follow-up appointments to fully treat their spider veins. Your healthcare provider might schedule a follow-up appointment to examine post-treatment effects.
Sclerotherapy at Memphis Vascular Center
We offer sclerotherapy treatment at our center in Germantown, Tennessee. If you would like to schedule a free consultation with us, please call 901-683-1890 today!