Even though spider or varicose veins are common in many people, in some instances, they are so numerous or unsightly that an individual will seek to have them treated. In some cases, varicose veins can cause health issues such as chronic pain or swelling. A treatment method that has been around since the 1930’s is a procedure called sclerotherapy. With this procedure, a salt solution, also called a sclerosing solution, will be injected directly into unwanted veins. Over a period of time, the vein will disappear, leaving the patient with an improved appearance. Dr. Matthew Barrows and the medical professionals of Dermatology & Skin Cancer Surgery Center and RejuvedermMD use sclerotherapy as the preferred method for treating spider veins. Patients who have been hiding their spider and varicose veins should schedule a consultation with one of our dermatologists or practitioners to find out what can be done to give them great skin again.

How it works

Prior to treatment, a patient will be positioned with legs slightly elevated. Sclerotherapy involves using a fine needle to inject a salt solution directly into a patient’s vein. The dosage amount varies depending on the severity and condition of the client. In cases involving a larger vein, a doctor may opt for a foam solution since it covers a larger area. The solution irritates the vein’s lining, leading to it swelling shut and blocking the flow of blood. Over time, the vein will become scar tissue and disappear entirely. During the procedure, a patient may experience some discomfort, including cramping that lasts for a couple of minutes. The entire process takes around 15-30 minutes.

What to expect

While light stinging or cramping is a common occurrence during the procedure, a patient should tell the practitioner if he or she is experiencing extreme pain because this could be a sign of the solution leaking from the vein into surrounding tissue. After the solution is injected and the needle removed, the practitioner will apply compression to the treatment area. The practitioner will also massage the area to evenly distribute the solution and to keep blood out of the injected vein to prevent any undue complications. Sometimes, the practitioner will tape a compression pad to the treated area if he or she is going to treat another vein.

When the procedure is over, the patient will lie on his or her back for 15-20 minutes and the practitioner will check the injection sites for any signs of side effects. The patient will then be instructed to stand and walk around to prevent blood clots from forming. For about three weeks following the procedure, the patient will need to wear compression garments to keep the treated veins properly compressed. While there is no downtime, patients should avoid strenuous exercise for about 2 weeks. When small veins are treated, results can be seen in 3-6 weeks and with larger veins, it may take 4-6 months.