Spider veins can spread across your legs, making you hesitant to wear shorts and skirts. Although spider veins, which resemble blue, red or purple spider webs, can be a common source of embarrassment, they aren’t difficult to treat. Sclerotherapy has long been the treatment of choice for these veins, especially when they form on the legs. Many people are candidates for the treatment. If you’re thinking about it, here are a few important things to know.
What to Know About Sclerotherapy
1. Treatment is Quick
Although the exact length of treatment varies based on the size of the area the doctor is treating, for the most part, sclerotherapy is a quick procedure. It can take as little as 10 minutes if just a small area is being treated. Larger areas might need up to an hour for treatment, according to the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
2. You Might Need Multiple Treatment Sessions
The treatment helps eliminate spider veins by causing those veins to collapse and fade away. The collapsed veins are eventually reabsorbed by the body and the blood that flowed through them is redirected to other blood vessels in the body.
That said, some people need a few treatments before they see full results. Usually, the treatments are spaced about a month apart, which allows your surgeon to evaluate your results and determine if a second session is needed.
3. You’ll Want to Wear Compression Stockings Afterwards
While the spider vein treatment won’t interfere with your life too much, since the treatment takes such a short amount of time and you’ll be able to return to most activities right away, there is one thing you might want to be aware of. Your surgeon might strongly recommend that you wear compression stockings for a few weeks after the treatment. The stockings will put a gentle pressure on the legs, helping the veins to fade from view and to help improve the circulation of the remaining functioning veins.
4. It’s a Good Idea to Avoid the Sun After Treatment
You’ll also want to avoid sun exposure on the treated area afterwards. The chemical solution injected into your veins does cause some inflammation in the area. Exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause the inflamed area to darken. Skin discoloration is more common in people who have darker complexions.
5. Treatment is Usually Very Effective
Sclerotherapy wouldn’t be the "gold standard" spider vein treatment if it weren’t effective. As the Cleveland Clinic notes, the treatment usually eliminates up to 80 percent of spider veins in a treated area after just a single session. Very few people, less than 10 percent, don’t see any results from their treatments.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to your spider veins, contact the board-certified surgeons at United Vein Center to learn more about sclerotherapy and other vein treatment options.