A quick and simple end to unsightly and painful spider veins

Problem veins are not only unsightly but can cause painful burning.  Known as spider veins, these tiny, purple and red blood vessels are commonly found on the face or thighs and lower legs.  While they do carry blood, spider veins are not part of the venous valve system and can be eliminated safely and permanently through a simple treatment, known as sclerotherapy.

Sclerotherapy is a quick, comfortable, non-surgical procedure used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins.  Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein.  The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot.  Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.

A laser, either a Pulse-dye or Yag or combination of the two, may be used to treat veins and capillaries too small for sclerotherapy.  The laser irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, the blood clots, and turns very dark for a long period of time (up to six months or longer.) Over time the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.

If you're considering sclerotherapy or laser therapy, this outline will give you a basic understanding of the procedure, when it can help, how it's performed, and what results you can expect.  It can't answer all of your questions, since a lot depends on the individual patient and the surgeon.  Dr. Walker is more than happy to clarify any misunderstandings, please contact her office with any questions or concerns you may have.

What happens during vein treatment?

In most cases, the salt solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein.  For some patients, there may be mild discomfort and cramping for a couple minutes, especially when larger veins are injected.  The procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

The number of veins injected in one session varies, and depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as the general medical condition of the patient.

The laser works in a similar fashion, but instead of the salt solution causing the vein irritation the light from the laser irritates the vessel walls.  Numerous veins and capillaries are treated in one session and most patients require a minimum of three sessions for full treatment.

In both types of treatment it is important that you do not partake in any aerobic activity for about a week after the procedure.  Also be sure you stay out of the sun for at least three months or wear heavy sunscreen and protective clothing.

The best candidates for vein treatment

The way to determine if you are a candidate for vein treatment is to have a consultation with Dr. Walker.  She can work with you to ensure it is the right procedure for your case.

Overall, the best candidates are in good health and are not pregnant. Additionally veins that are potentially usable for future surgical bypass procedures (i.e. use of the saphenous vein, a large vein in the leg used for coronary artery bypass graft surgery) will never be considered for sclerotherapy regardless of the condition of the vein as they are too large for treatment.  Large vessels are better treated by venous endoclosure or surgical excision and removal.

It is also important for you to understand that while these vessels have been destroyed and will not return other new veins and capillaries will develop.  The new veins may develop one to two years later and may be in the same area.  Sclerotherapy is an on going process, it is not a one time treatment if you intend to keep your legs vein free.