Varicose and spider veins are an extremely common disorder affecting about one half of the population. Although most venous disease sufferers are women, men are also afflicted. For these people, everyday life is often disrupted by leg cramps, swelling, itching, and burning in the legs. The exact cause of varicosities is unknown, but some of the risk factors are heredity, pregnancy, menopause, obesity, prolonged standing or sitting, estrogen, birth control pills, tight girdles, trauma, poor diet, and aging.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a very common procedure used in the treatment of vein therapy. It has been used for many years to treat unwanted small veins, also known as Spider Veins. These veins are usually found on the legs and thighs; however, can also be found on the hips, rib cage, and butt as well. Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical procedure that involves injecting a solution (generally a saline solution) into the vein. Using a very small needle, the sclerosant solution is injected into the diseased dilated vein or spider vein. This causes a reaction within the wall of the vein, causing it to collapse and route the blood back to the heart. The unsightly veins disappear.
How soon after my injections will I see the veins disappearing?
Different sized veins disappear at different rates but usually we ask you to wait 3-6 weeks before evaluating the disappearance. There can be disappearance up to 12 weeks from the time of the initial injections. However, typically with Sclerotherapy, the results are pretty immediate.
How safe is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is extremely safe. There are many different types of solutions that may be injected and each one carries its own risk. Because of the different vein sizes, pigmentation of the skin and the location of the veins, different solutions and concentrations are frequently employed on an individual basis. During the consultation, feel free to ask Dr. Roger Murray what types and concentrations he would recommend in your individual case.
Can the Sclerotherapy agent cause an allergic reaction?
Despite a detailed history and exam, there is always the possibility of an allergic reaction. This, however, is extremely rare. This rare complication may range from slight tingling sensations to hives, or possibly even an anaphylactoid reaction. Extremely rare cases of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolus have been reported in the medical literature.
Are there any other side effects that may occur?
There are two other RARE complications that may arise from sclerotherapy. In some patients there are superficial A-V malformations (arterial-venous abnormality) and if one of these are injected, a small ulcer may appear on the skin. Secondly, a small amount of sclerosing solution may spill into the subcutaneous tissue. Both of these may leave a small scar on the skin.
What to do or not do before Sclerotherapy…
Do not put oil or cream on your legs 24 hours prior to treatment. Do not shave or wax your legs 24 hours prior to treatment, as we cleanse your legs with alcohol, and it may cause some burning. Please refrain from aspirin products seven days prior to therapy. However, it is important to talk with your Vein Specialist about all medications (OTC drugs, herbs, and dietary supplements) you are taking. One should avoid the use of aspirin or other anticoagulants for one week prior to sclerotherapy. If you are currently taking iron supplements, this may add to skin staining.
Who should not receive Sclerotherapy?
People who have connective tissue diseases such as Lupus, Discoid Lupus, PSS – Progressive Systemic Sclerosis, CREST, hemophiliacs, and Rheumatoid and Psoriatic Arthritis.
How many sessions will it take?
This question must be answered on an individual basis. However, we do offer three levels of services depending on your severity – full sessions, limited sessions, and mini sessions. The cost decreases the less we treat. There is no cure for veins, only control. A healthy diet and regular exercise help to ease the symptoms.
Once the veins have been treated can they come back?
Generally, once treated those veins are gone forever. However, new veins may develop in the future within the same area previously treated.
- Exercise for 30 minutes after treatment by walking, biking, or using exercise equipment involving leg motion.
- Wear compression stockings or special bandages continuously for 48 hours after treatment.
- Wear compression stockings for one week after treatment.
- Rub the injected area with your hands about 10 times per day, for 10 days for about 60 seconds each time.
- Wear compression or support stockings as often as possible.
- Continue a normal routine as usual after your treatment, simply emphasize your exercise (walking, swimming, aerobics, etc.).
- Do not sunbathe for two weeks after treatment.
- Avoid training with free weights for two weeks after treatment.
- Avoid hot baths and whirlpools.
- Avoid constrictive girdles.
Will I have to wear stockings afterwards?
Much of the literature published to date reports improvement with compression stockings worn after sclerotherapy. For your convenience, the stockings are available at The Murray Center. The stockings are very thin and are very aesthetic.