Damaged veins can cause symptoms like aching, swelling, and cramping. But they are also an aesthetic concern to many patients and can affect their confidence.
Can you relate? Trust us, you’re not alone.
Varicose veins and spider veins are more common than you think. It is estimated that about 23% of adults in the USA have varicose veins, and they are generally more common in women and older adults.
The good news? Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment that treats varicose and spider veins easily and effectively. It not only improves the appearance of these conditions but also helps relieve the painful symptoms that come with it. This is one of the treatments we offer at our medical spa in Boston.
But first, what exactly are varicose veins and spider veins?
Varicose veins and spider veins
Varicose veins are large, swollen, twisted veins that appear just under your skin’s surface, usually affecting the legs. They can also cause pain, described as aching or cramping, and other symptoms like throbbing, burning, tingling, tiredness, or heaviness in the legs.
Spider veins are a milder form of varicose veins, and they appear as thin, weblike networks of blood vessels, typically visible on the legs or face. They can be purple, red, or blue, and don’t tend to cause any pain or other symptoms.
Both spider and varicose veins occur due to chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that causes the valves in your veins to stop functioning properly. These valves рrеvеnt blооd from flоwіng bасk down towards the feet. Whеn thеy fail, blооd starts tо accumulate іn thе veins instead of flowing back up tоwаrd уоur heart. Thе vеіnѕ then become enlarged, and the increased pressure leads to the development of varicose veins.
How does sclerotherapy work?
Sclerotherapy consists of injecting a specialized solution into the affected vein. This makes it collapse and eventually scar. When the vein collapses, your body redirects the blood to healthy veins, and absorbs the damaged vein over time.
In some cases, our cosmetic doctors use cryo-sclerotherapy to reduce the appearance of spider veins. It is basically the same process as sclerotherapy, but it uses cold air to numb your skin and forces blood out of spider and varicose veins.
You may be wondering, what is injected during sclerotherapy? In simple terms, the solution is made of salt, fatty acid, and glycerin. It acts as a sclerosing agent, which means it irritates in the lining of the vein, causing it to swell and close.
Interested in sclerotherapy? Here’s what to expect:
Before the procedure
Before a sclerotherapy procedure, your doctor will perform a medical exam and evaluate your medical history to avoid possible risks or complications. Depending on which veins are affected, your doctor may need you to get an ultrasound done to see them more clearly.
During the procedure
Sclerotherapy usually takes from 30 to 45 minutes, and it doesn’t require any anesthesia. Your doctor will simply cleanse the area to be treated and insert the sclerosing solution into the vein with a light needle. The injection isn’t usually painful–most patients describe the sensation as a pinch, sometimes followed by a minor tingling sensation.
After withdrawing the needle, your doctor may apply a compression pad onto the injection site while repeating the procedure on the next vein, if there is more than one.
After the procedure
One of the benefits of sclerotherapy is it requires no downtime. You’ll be able to continue with your daily activities shortly after–in fact, your doctor will recommend you walk around and move your legs to prevent blood clotting. They’ll also ask you to wear compression stockings for the next couple of weeks to maintain blood flow and reduce swelling.
Although it’s important that you walk and move every day, you should avoid strenouous exercise for about two weeks. We also recommend you have someone drive you home after the procedure.
When it comes to results, they depend on the size of the veins. If you got treated for spider veins or smaller varicose veins, it will take anywhere from three to six weeks for the veins to fade. Larger veins, however, may require more than one sclerotherapy procedure, and it can take up to four months to get ideal results. If this is your case, you’ll need to wait about six weeks between sessions to avoid risks.
What are the dangers of sclerotherapy?
Spoiler: it’s not actually dangerous, contrary to what some people may think.
Sclerotherapy can have some minor side effects specifically at the site of the injection, such as:
- Raised red areas or small skin sores
- Skin discoloration
Side effects vary from patient to patient, but they aren’t generally harmful and, in most cases, go away within a few days or weeks. If you experience inflammation, your doctor may suggest an over-the-counter pain reliever to help reduce it.
There are also some possible risks and complications that can result from a sclerotherapy procedure–however, they are a lot less common:
- Blood clots in the treated veins
- Air bubbles in your bloodstream
- Allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent
- Skin ulceration or infection around the injection site
These side effects may require treatment, so it’s important to check in with your doctor after getting the procedure done. At Evolution MedSpa, we make sure to follow up with our patients post treatment to ensure their recovery process is going well and determine if they need more sessions.
How long does sclerotherapy last?
Sclerotherapy permanently removes spider veins and varicose veins in an unquestionably safe, effective way. However, new veins may appear. To prevent this our cosmetic doctors recommend:
- Wearing compression stockings regularly (idelly 20-30 mmHg).
- Avoiding sitting with your legs crossed.
- Moving regularly–if you work at a desk, for instance, try taking breaks to get up and walk around.
- Exercising daily for at least 30 minutes.
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
Tired of having varicose veins? Try sclerotherapy at Evolution MedSpa
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for varicose veins for a reason. It’s a simple, noninvasive, effective procedure with minimal side effects.
Varicose and spider veins can be painful, uncomfortable, and even affect your self confidence. If you suffer from one of these conditions and you dread wearing shorts or skirts, don’t hesitate to visit our medical spa in Boston. We also offer other cosmetic treatments, facial treatments, and body contouring treatments backed by medical expertise.
Email us here to book a consultation or ask us any questions you may have about our services.