Spider veins and varicose veins can cause embarrassment, especially when wearing shorts and bathing suits. The reddish-purple lines on your legs are not unhealthy, but they can certainly cause discomfort and be a cosmetic nuisance. Many women work hard to get their legs in shape but are embarrassed to show their legs because of unwanted veins. The veins are not “broken” but are actually dilated vessels. Now we can obliterate these networks with the simple injection of a sclerosing solution. The chance for a greatly improved appearance is greater than 90 percent.
What actually causes these veins to stretch is not completely understood. They occur despite weight control, diet and exercise. They become more numerous with age, but can occur even in the teens. Hormonal changes, particularly those caused by pregnancy and heredity, seem to be factors leading to the development of spider and varicose veins. Some even arise after trauma. They can occur on the face and may be related to excessive sun exposure. I know of no reliable means of prevention. Wearing support hose may help in some individuals. Weight control and low impact exercise may also help
Sclerotherapy is one of the most successful therapies available for removing these veins. The procedure involves injecting a solution through a very tiny needle into the veins. This causes irritation and inflammation inside the vessel and leads to closure of the vessel. With no blood flowing, the veins become invisible and are replaced by scar tissue. The veins fade in two to three weeks.
These vessels are not needed for your circulation. They are actually unnecessary detours that can safely be destroyed. Depending on its size, a vessel may need to be injected more than once (usually with one month between treatments). Numerous vessels can be treated in one session. There are several different solutions available. Saline (salt water), glycerin and soltradecol are the safest and most popular.
If you have large varicose veins and small spider veins, it may be necessary to treat the larger veins first. This will vary from person to person. If there are very large veins near the groin, a surgical procedure called a ligation may be necessary. Non-invasive vascular studies are occasionally done in patients with extensive varicose veins to help plan the best overall treatment.
Most patients require 3-5 sessions to achieve the desired cosmetic improvement. Some patients will require periodic treatments every year or two. A treated vein does not actually recur, but new veins can continue to develop in predisposed individuals.
The procedure can be slightly painful for a moment. As the saline is injected, it will usually sting or burn briefly, and you may feel muscle cramps. This discomfort goes away almost immediately. Aethoxysclerol and soltradecol treatment is almost painless.
Surgical support hose should be worn after treatment for three to seven days. For large veins (one-eighth inch or longer), support hose will need to be worn for a longer period of time. Hose can be purchased at some pharmacies, surgical supply stores and at this office. Side effects occasionally occur. They are rarely more than a short-term nuisance. They will be discussed with you at your first consultation.
The gold standard for treating spider veins on the legs is sclerotherapy. There is no laser that is better or safer than sclerotherapy. Lasers are more painful, however, and more likely to leave scars. Almost all veins are injectable and in general veins that are too small to inject are barely visible. Sclerotherapy is also used to treat facial spider veins. Veins that are too small to treat on the face can be treated by laser and BBL (broadband light).
During a consultation, Dr. Ginsburg will discuss the best treatment plan for you.
If you are interested in spider or varicose vein treatment, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ginsburg at Ginsburg Dermatology. Fill out the form below, or call us at (205) 592-4880