Fixing Spider Veins: What is Sclerotherapy?

Dermatology Associates of Rochester

It’s a common question, ‘how do you treat spider veins?’ Sclerotherapy is your answer, a minimally-invasive procedure done by your healthcare provider injects a solution into the affected veins, whether it be uncomplicated spider veins or reticular veins. Sclerotherapy treatment can also be combined with laser therapy for maximum benefits. Read on for how sclerotherapy works and what it does for spider veins.

Smaller, red, purple and blue blood vessels that are visible through the skin have the nickname ‘spider veins’ because of their twisted and turning shape. They are often seen on the legs, chest, or even face.

But how do spider veins form?

  • They’re hereditary, so they can be passed down within your family from generation to generation
  • Obesity is a cause of spider veins due to the pressure on your blood vessels
  • If you have an occupation that requires a significant amount of standing, spider veins can form over time

Spider veins are usually harmless, but if you spend a substantial amount of time, they can sometimes cause aching, burning or pain. Typically, the motivation for fixing spider veins is the appearance, not necessarily discomfort.

The sclerotherapy treatment involves a solution injected into the affected vein with a very tiny needle. It works by irritating the endothelium of the vessels (a surface within a blood vessel), eventually causing the vessels to collapse and disappear.

What is sclerotherapy?

Here are some of the questions we receive about sclerotherapy treatment:

  1. Are the injections painful? The needle is super small, so at most, you’ll experience a pinching sensation. Injection of the solution may cause a minor burning feeling, but that will dissipate.
  2. How long does the treatment take? Usually between 15-45 minutes, depending on the number of affected veins. Multiple injections are done in one session.
  3. What are the common side effects? Mild redness, temporary itching and possible bruising at treatment areas.
  4. What do I need to do after a sclerotherapy treatment? We apply compression stockings immediately after to keep pressure on the vessels treated. Your healthcare provider will recommend that you wear compression stockings for two weeks following treatment. Additionally, we discourage heavy aerobic exercise during the two weeks post-treatment.

After sclerotherapy treatment, laser therapy with our GentleMaxPro® or Vbeam® Perfecta services can enhance your results and destroy damaged blood vessels. Laser therapy works by emitting a gentle burst of light that targets blood vessels in pigmented areas without damaging the surrounding skin and tissue. As an alternative to sclerotherapy, laser therapy can be a standalone procedure to fix spider veins.

For more information on spider veins, and to see if you’re a candidate for sclerotherapy or laser therapy, schedule a consultation with our team!

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