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Spider Vein Removal (Sclerotherapy)

Article-Spider Vein Removal (Sclerotherapy)

Procedure Description: It is estimated that almost three-quarters of all adult women have spider veins – red, blue or purple thread-like lines just under the skin. While unsightliness is the most common reason for removal, spider veins may also be removed to alleviate problems with restless legs, aching, burning, and/or cramps.

Your doctor will apply antiseptic to the area, then inject a solution into the affected veins with a very fine needle. Each injection covers about one inch of the vein. During the procedure, you may feel a slight pinch as the needle is inserted and a burning sensation as the solution is injected. Next, cotton dressing and compression tape will be applied to the area. After one area is injected and taped, the doctor will proceed to the next area.

Length of Procedure: Sclerotherapy normally takes fifteen minutes to one hour, depending on the number and length of the spider veins. A series of treatments at bi-weekly or monthly intervals may be required.

Recovery: You may experience temporary itching or cramping at the injection site. You will be asked to wear a compression wrap for several days.

Although you should avoid activities that put pressure on the treated area (such as heavy lifting or jogging) for a few days, your doctor will probably suggest a regular walking program to increase circulation and promote healing.

When the compression wrap is removed, you will notice bruising and discoloration. This will gradually fade over a period of several weeks.

Risks: Occasionally "telangiectatic matting," a new network of veins, appears around the treated area. If this occurs, these veins can also be treated with sclerotherapy. Discoloration and blotchiness is a more common side effect, but this usually fades over a period of time. Avoiding direct sunlight can minimize this. More rarely, sclerotherapy can lead to blood clots or inflammation in the veins. Allergic reactions to sclerosing agents have also been reported. Bruising is not uncommon and often will fade within a few days or, rarely, within a few weeks.

Results: Although treatment does not prevent the development of new spider veins, the removal of existing veins can dramatically improve the appearance of the affected area, providing a more youthful, healthy look and an even color pattern to the skin. Veins lighten after each treatment. Most patients report a high degree of satisfaction with the procedure and relief at no longer having to hide unsightly veins. The treated areas are noticeably clearer and in most cases the skin continues to improve with each successive treatment.

Generally a second treatment will be required in order to complete the collapse of the vein. If you have many veins requiring treatment, multiple sessions may be required.

Estimated Cost: Sclerotherapy costs between $100 and $400 per session. Expect to pay more if your spider veins are extensive or if the treatments are performed by a physician rather than a supervised technician.

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