Generally speaking, leg veins come in 2 different variations:
These unwanted blood vessels often occur as an inherited tendency, and may be part of the aging process. Long periods of standing or sitting, trauma to the leg from blows or falls, pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone replacement therapy are all factors that can be involved.
Exercise and normal weight maintenance may help prevent the onslaught of spider veins.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the vein with a very fine needle to cause inflammation and collapse. Once the vein has collapsed, no blood can re-enter and the vein is absorbed by the body’s natural responses.
Sclerotherapy requires 30-45 minutes depending on the number of areas being treated. No sedation or anaesthesia is needed. Patients may experience mild temporary cramping during the injection as the solution enters the vessel. This sensation resolves within minutes. Injection sites are covered with gauze and tape, and the legs are usually wrapped with an elastic wrap.
Patients are encouraged to walk immediately after the procedure, and the wrap is removed in 24 hours. No wound care is required. The treated vessels gradually disappear over the following month.
Sclerotherapy is a safe procedure with few significant risks. Less than 5% of patients experience even minor adverse effects. The most common complication is the development of brownish pigment in the treated area, similar to a freckle, which usually disappears within 2 to 6 months. If the veins are unusually weak, there may be some temporary bruising around the injection site.
Patients may develop a tiny scab at the injection site if any of the solution escapes from the blood vessels. The scab is treated with an antibiotic ointment until it clears. There is little risk of infection or ulcers from Sclerotherapy.
It will depend on the severity of the condition and the extent of improvement desired. Most patients can expect a 50% – 90% improvement after several treatments. To guarantee success and counteract the appearance of new spider veins, touch-up treatments may be required every year or so. Most patients require more than one treatment to obtain the desired results.
After the procedure, patients with reticular veins can return home wearing a pressure dressing and/or pressure hosiery to prevent post-injection bleeding, as well as to promote healing. Patients with spider veins do not need a pressure dressing.
A healing interval (typically 1 month) must pass before you can have another series of injections in the same area. After each treatment, you will notice further improvement of your appearance.