Spider Vein Treatment (Sclerotherapy)
Sclerotherapy is a technique that uses a small needle
to instill a specific solution (sclerosing agent) into
varicose or spider veins in order to eliminate them
creating a more desirable appearance. The solution irritates
and destroys the inner lining of the blood vessel ceasing
blood flow without damaging the surrounding tissues.
It is estimated that almost of all adult women have
spider veins, which are red, blue or purple thread-like
lines just under the skin. The condition is associated
with increased pressure to the veins. Other contributing
factors include injuries, medications that affect hormones,
and a family history of spider veins. Although it is
less common, men can develop spider veins as well. The
condition usually appears after age 30, although it
can sometimes develop as early as the teen years.
While unsightliness is the most common reason for removal,
spider veins may also be removed to alleviate problems
with restless legs, aching, burning, and/or cramps.
Although treatment does not prevent the development
of new spider veins, the removal of existing veins can
dramatically improve the appearance of the affected
area, providing a more youthful, healthy look and an
even color pattern to the skin.
How is sclerotherapy performed?
Your doctor will apply antiseptic to the area, then
inject a solution into the affected veins with a very
fine needle. Each injection covers about one inch of
the vein. During the procedure, you may feel a slight
pinch as the needle is inserted and a burning sensation
as the solution is injected. Next, cotton dressing and
compression tape will be applied to the area. After
one area is injected and taped, the doctor will proceed
to the next area.
Generally a second treatment will be required in order
to complete the collapse of the vein. If you have many
veins requiring treatment, multiple sessions may be
How long does sclerotherapy take?
Sclerotherapy normally takes fifteen minutes to one
hour, depending on the number and length of the spider
veins. A series of treatments at bi-weekly or monthly
intervals may be required.
What type of anesthesia is used?
Anesthesia is not necessary.
Where is the procedure performed?
The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis,
in the surgeon's office-based surgical suite or an outpatient
When can I return home and resume
You should avoid activities that put pressure on the
treated area (such as heavy lifting or jogging) for
a few days. Your surgeon will give you further information
regarding activity specific to your case.
How do I prepare for the sclerotherapy
During your initial consultation, your surgeon will
discuss the changes that you would like to make to your
appearance. Since the appearance of your skin is a matter
of personal perception and preference, you will need
to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon can
determine the appropriate alternatives. Please note
that on the day of your treatment you will be asked
to avoid using moisturizers, sun block or oil on the
area to be treated. You should arrive dressed in comfortable
clothing that exposes the area to be treated on the
day of the procedure.
Prior to your treatment, the surgeon will perform a
complete health history and physical. Knowledge of your
allergies, medications and previous surgeries should
be brought to your surgeon's attention at this time.
It is also important to relay information regarding
any discomfort you may be having, such as pain, itching
or swelling. These symptoms may indicate more serious
circulatory problem. If your surgeon assesses the potential
for a more serious condition, you may be referred to
a specialist for further evaluation. Any underlying
condition should be treated before sclerotherapy treatment
is begun.Specific instructions to assist you in preparing
for this procedure will be given to you after the health
history and physical is complete. Your surgeon may recommend
that you avoid aspirin and alcohol, as well as herbal
and anti-inflammatory medications, for two weeks prior
to your treatment in order to minimize bleeding during
the procedure. Your experience will be much smoother
if you remain compliant with your surgeon's instructions.
What precautions are necessary during
When the compression wrap is removed, you will notice
bruising and discoloration. This will gradually fade
over a period of several weeks.
What are the possible complications
Occasionally "telangiectatic matting," a
new network of veins, appears around the treated area.
If this occurs, these veins can also be treated with
sclerotherapy. Discoloration and blotchiness is a more
common side effect, but this usually fades over a period
of time. Avoiding direct sunlight can minimize this.
More rarely, sclerotherapy can lead to blood clots or
inflammation in the veins. Allergic reactions to sclerosing
agents have also been reported. Bruising is not uncommon
and often will fade within a few days or, rarely, within
a few weeks. In order to minimize these risks, it is
important that you follow all of your surgeon's instructions,
both before and after surgery.
If you have recently been pregnant, ask your surgeon
about delaying the procedure, since spider veins caused
primarily by pregnancy often resolve on their own.
You may experience temporary itching or cramping at
the injection site. You will be asked to wear a compression
wrap for several days. During this time you must keep
the area dry. Your doctor may prescribe support hose
to be worn for several weeks. This helps to keep the
treated vein collapsed. It also reduces the likelihood
of blood clots.
No procedure is without risks; however, the majority
of complications known to be associated with sclerotherapy
are minor when the procedure is performed by an experienced
board certified plastic surgeon. It is always important
to be informed about the possible complications before
any procedure. Be sure to discuss any concerns you may
have with your surgeon.
What results can I expect after sclerotherapy?
Most patients report a high degree of satisfaction
with the procedure and relief at no longer having to
hide unsightly veins. The treated areas are noticeably
clearer and in most cases the skin continues to improve
with each successive treatment.
Choosing the right surgeon
To obtain further information regarding ear surgery,
we advise you to consult with a qualified and experienced
board-certified plastic surgeon. Regardless of the type
of procedure you are considering, it is crucial to choose
the right surgeon for your individual goals. To receive
a complimentary consultation with a specialist in your
area, simply fill out our Online
Referral Form or call Toll