Sclerotherapy was developed in the 1920's for the treatment of spider veins (telangiectasias), small purple and red blood vessels. Spider veins are hereditary, and while most commonly found on the thigh or lower leg, can form virtually anywhere on the leg, from the uppermost region of the thigh to the ankle. Occasionally, spider veins will appear on the face. Sclerotherapy has proven to be a very popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure.
The veins to be treated are marked while the patient is standing. Larger veins are usually treated first. A sclerosing solution is injected into the vein with a micro-needle. The solution causes the vein to turn white (blanch), and then gradually disappear. A typical treatment lasts from 30 minutes to an hour. Injection sclerotherapy can be an excellent alternative to surgery, provided the patient's venous system is not affected.
- No downtime. Patients can immediately resume work and all normal activities. However, the patient is advised to refrain from vigorous activities for the first 24 hours.
- Little, if any, discomfort.
- A safe, time-proven procedure.
- Complete correction is not expected after the first treatment. Only about 50 to 70% of the treated vessels will be permanently gone. Generally, 3 to 4 treatments are required for optimal results.
- Patients may initially be asked to wear heavy-duty stockings to help keep treated veins closed and reduce bruising.
- On occasion, small clots may develop at the site of the injection.
- Color changes may occur in the skin where sclerotherapy has been performed.
- In some cases, laser treatments may be an alternative to sclerotherapy.
- If there is an underlying problem with the venous system, the veins will recur.