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What to Expect from Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

July 28, 2016 • jake • spider veins

Patients view most spider veins as a bothersome cosmetic issue.  Florida vein doctors treat these veins on an outpatient basis using either sclerotherapy or a laser procedure.  For leg veins, physicians consider sclerotherapy the gold standard of treatment.

How Sclerotherapy Works

Using a fine needle, a vein specialist performs this Florida vein treatment by injecting a sclerosant, also called a sclerosing agent, into a spider vein.  This special substance, in either liquid or foam form, irritates the targeted vein and causes it to eventually collapse, then fade, according to the University of Utah.  Since the body resorbs the treated vessel, healthy veins nearby pick up its circulatory work. Doctors at a vein clinic often use ultrasound with sclerotherapy in order to map the blood vessels they intend to treat.  They also sometimes utilize sclerotherapy to eliminate small varicose veins.

Good Candidates

The first step to finding out if a patient is a good candidate for sclerotherapy is scheduling a consultation with a vein specialist.  The Cleveland Clinic reports that three situations could determine that an individual is ineligible:
  • Being pregnant or having delivered less than three months ago
  • Currently breastfeeding
  • Being a bedridden patient
Physicians carefully evaluate individuals who have a history of blood clots.  For approved candidates, physicians are able to eliminate between 50 and 80 percent of targeted veins during a single session.

What to Expect at a Vein Clinic

Vein specialists issue pre-procedure instructions that patients must carefully follow.  Most individuals opt to wear clothes that are loose and comfortable on the day of treatment, the Mayo Clinic reports. The clinic staff positions a patient on his or her back with the legs elevated.  The next step is cleansing the targeted area.  Some of the solutions used are manufactured with an anesthetic.  Aside from a bit of stinging or cramping when the physician inserts the needle, most individuals complain of very little discomfort. After injecting the sclerosing agent, the physician massages the area, then applies a compression pack or bandage.   The number of injections correlates with the number of blood vessels treated with sclerotherapy. Aside from strenuous activities, most patients are able to get back to their normal daily routines right away.  They will need an adult to provide a ride home.  Since movement helps prevent blood clots, the staff encourages individuals to walk or otherwise move their legs. While larger veins could take up to four months to fade from view, most patients see definite results between three to six weeks after a sclerotherapy session.  Some individuals return periodically for more treatments because neither sclerotherapy nor laser procedures can stop new unwanted veins from developing.   Spider vein patients can, however, help prevent the formation of new blood vessels by getting plenty of regular exercise and by losing any excess weight.    

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