Spider veins, which are medically known as telangectasias, are dilated skin blood vessels which may be caused by a variety of factors including heredity, hormones and jobs that require standing on your feet for long periods of time. Sclerotherapy is a microinjection technique that consists of instilling a solution, hypertonic saline, into these tiny vessels using a needle so small that a magnifying glass is required. This irritates the inner lining of the vessel so that they cease to carry blood and the body slowly replaces then with scar tissue without harming the circulation.
Several injections are often needed for a specific area of telangiectasia. The goal is to produce a 75 to 80% improvement in the appearance of the vessels. Fading of the spider veins is gradual and maximum improvement is achieved after several treatments administered over a period of months. Generally 3 to 5 sessions are required which are scheduled at monthly intervals. Wearing support stockings for one week after each treatment session will help to speed the disappearance of the veins.
Most patients experience minimal or no side effects after a sclerotherapy session. The most common side effects from treatment are a small amount of redness, swelling or bruising at the treatment sites immediately following the injections. These side effects are temporary and will resolve within 1 to 2 weeks. Another possible side effect is a brown discoloration that can occur at the treatment site. This generally will fade over a period of months if it does occur, however, sometimes can persist. Other rare side effects include superficial thrombophlebitis, which is a superficial blood clot that may occur within the treatment area after a treatment and ulceration of the skin at the treatment site. If either of these side effects occurs then contact your doctor for treatment.
Sclerotherapy is a safe and effective way of treating unwanted spider veins of the legs and also larger veins on the face. It is well tolerated and only has little downtime.