Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat unsightly and potentially painful spider veins. During the procedure, a healthcare professional will inject a solution of sodium chloride directly into the damaged veins, causing irritation and eventual clotting and collapse of the vein. Sclerotherapy has been used on patients across the world since the 1930s and remains the primary effective treatment for spider veins.
When to See a Doctor for Spider Vein Treatment
Spider veins are small vessels easily seen through the skin. Most typically visible on the legs and face, these veins are often red, purple, and/or blue in color. Many factors can predispose a person to spider veins including hereditary factors, obesity, a history of blood clots, and hormonal changes such as pregnancy, puberty, and menopause. People who work jobs that require a lot of standing are also more likely to get spider veins. A lot of nurses, teachers, factor workers, and hair stylists come to our Chesterfield dermatology clinic for spider vein treatment.
Sclerotherapy is useful for both cosmetic and medical reasons. Treating spider veins can improve symptoms of venous insufficiency, which can cause leg swelling, blood clots, and skin ulceration. Left untreated, these veins may grow and eventually cause chronic swelling and significant discomfort. At the very least, spider veins can be unsightly, and individuals may also want them removed for cosmetic reasons.
The most popular spider vein treatment, sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure that minimizes pain. During treatment, a dermatologist will inject a sodium chloride solution directly into the damaged veins. The solution then injures the innermost lining of the vessel to create a clot, which blocks that vein’s blood circulation. Over time, the vein turns into scar tissue and fades from view.
What to Expect with Sclerotherapy Treatment
This spider vein treatment is usually performed in your doctor’s office and takes no more than an hour. Most patients need 2 to 4 treatments in order to achieve desired results. Recovery is simple, as there is no downtime other than avoiding strenuous activities for the first 2 to 3 days. Aftercare may include wearing a compression bandage for up to two weeks after the procedure.
While proven as an effective treatment for spider veins, sclerotherapy is not recommended for everybody. Pregnant women and those whose saphenous veins are affected are not typically eligible for this procedure. Most complications are minimal, sometimes including hyperpigmentation, temporary swelling, and pain from the injection. Keep in mind that this treatment is not effective for large varicose veins, which may require laser treatments, foam solution injections, or more invasive surgical procedures, such as a phlebectomy. The American Society for Dermatologic Surgery is another good source of information for what to expect with sclerotherapy.
Whether you’re seeking sclerotherapy treatment for cosmetic or medical purposes, don’t let spider veins dictate daily dress and activity choices. If you live in the St. Louis area, a consultation with one of our dermatologists can determine if this procedure is the best form of treatment for your spider veins.
*Results may vary per patient.
Everyone in the office is very helpful and kind - they truly care for each patient and their individual needs. Thank you!
This is an awesome office! All the staff are so friendly and caring! If you have a dermatological problem, then they will do everything in their power to help you! I definitely recommend them.
Dr. Blattel is the best I've been seeing her for 10+ years!