When you look at your legs, is your attention immediately drawn to the discoloration caused by spider veins? If so, you are not alone. They are an incredibly common condition that affects millions of people. They are also one that can be successfully treated. Sclerotherapy treatment is the most common treatment method used at R Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA. Keep reading to learn more about the treatment and how it can be used to get rid of damaged veins.
When Treatment Is Necessary: How Many Sclerotherapy Sessions Will You Need?
Many cases of spider and varicose veins can be treated with a single sclerotherapy treatment session. However, larger, more complicated cases may need several. Be sure to ask during your initial consultation how many sessions it will likely take to fully resolve your condition.
Results typically take about four to six weeks to become fully apparent. During that time, your body is actively working to remove the now-defunct portion of the vein and heal the surrounding tissue. When you come in for a follow-up appointment, we can assess the results and determine whether another varicose vein treatment session is necessary to achieve the desired outcome.
About Sclerotherapy treatment
Widely accepted as a safe and effective treatment for spider and varicose veins, doctors have been using some variation of Sclerotherapy treatment to treat venous disorders since the 1930s. For many doctors, it is considered the gold standard of treatment for removing damaged veins and restoring a smooth and clear complexion.
While you will likely have several options, sclerotherapy is the most common choice for getting rid of spider and varicose veins. It is generally considered safe and effective. Keep reading to learn more about what to expect from this popular varicose vein treatments modality.
What Is a Treatment Session Like?
Expect to spend about an hour when you visit our Mountain View, California, office for varicose veins treatments. The actual session will usually take between 30 and 45 minutes. You should remain comfortable during the entire process. Because it is a minimally invasive Sclerotherapy treatment, it can be performed right in our office.
At the start of your session, Dr. Shaheen will inject a special solution into your veins. This is called a sclerosant, and it is designed to cause irritation within the damaged portion of your vein. That results in swelling, which leads to the blockage of blood flow.
There is no need for concern, though, since your body automatically responds by diverting the blood flow to other healthy veins that are nearby. Since it is now non-functional, the treated section of the vein will slowly dissolve. It will then be absorbed into your body and expelled through normal biological processes.
What About Post-Treatment Care and Recovery?
Its minimally invasive nature, which only requires a small injection, offers a big advantage over some other available treatments. There is also very little downtime associated with this type of treatment. Combined, these factors make it an attractive choice for many people.
Most patients do not need any specialized care afterward; however, you might want to have someone drive you to and from your appointment. We may advise that you avoid intense exercise and other strenuous activity for a couple of weeks to give your body a chance to heal. In most cases, wearing compressions stockings may be recommended during your recovery period.
Is Treatment Right for Everyone?
While many people choose sclerotherapy to treat spider and varicose veins, it can also be used to treat several other common venous disorders. It is particularly effective on abnormalities that develop on the legs.
That doesn’t mean it is the right choice for everyone, however. Your medical history, current health, and a number of other factors can play into your decision. When you come in for an initial consultation, be sure to discuss whether you are a good candidate for using sclerotherapy to treat your spider veins.
While it is widely regarded as safe, there are some patients who should postpone or forgo treatment for their varicose veins. These include the following situations:
- A history of blood clots or other serious venous disorders
- There is an active infection at the injection site
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Limited mobility that could interfere with recovery
What Is It Used to Treat?
Sclerotherapy treatment has been used to treat venous disorders for nearly a century. The most commonly treated disorders include spider and varicose veins. In these cases, it effectively disables blood flow from damaged veins so it is redirected to nearby, healthy veins. There are also other uses for the treatment.
It can also be used to treat hemorrhoids, a venous disorder similar to varicose veins. These occur in blood vessels in and around the rectum. You may develop hemorrhoids after prolonged intense straining or due to excessive weight gain. They can be very painful, and many people who are diagnosed with them opt for treatment.
What Are Spider and Varicose Veins?
Spider veins appear as small areas of discoloration on the skin. They generally appear as thin purplish, blue or red lines. For many people, they develop into a web-like pattern, which is where their name derives from. In others, they may only be a single line or a slight branching pattern. These may also be referred to as thread veins.
Varicose veins are larger than spider veins because they develop in larger veins. They often take on a twisted and rope-like appearance, like a piece of cord just under the skin’s surface.
Are They Dangerous?
For most people, spider veins will be a harmless cosmetic imperfection. Varicose veins may cause irritation, itchiness, and pain or tenderness. Neither condition should not be ignored, however, since they may also be an early indication that you are susceptible to developing larger varicose veins or other more serious venous disorders.
How Do Spider and Varicose Veins Form?
Spider veins form when surface veins or blood vessels are damaged. This can be from small amounts of blood pooling in them, burst blood vessels from extreme pressure, or from prolonged sun damage.
Varicose veins form as a result of weakened vein walls. When blood flow is reversed or compromised, pooling can result. This leads to excessive pressure within the veins, which leads to weakening and distortion of their walls. Chronic high blood pressure and obesity can also lead to weakening.
Will Varicose Veins Come Back After Treatment?
Since damaged veins dissolve into the surrounding tissue and are naturally removed from your body, they will not return after being successfully treated. That does not mean you will be free from varicose or spider veins forever, though. If you are predisposed to the conditions due to your family history or lifestyle, you may develop new ones that require further Sclerotherapy treatment.
What Are Risk Factors for Developing Them?
There are numerous factors that could potentially increase your risk of developing venous damage. Keep in mind that some people can end up with varicose veins with no known risk factors. In general, though, if you can relate to one or more of these statements, then you should be on the lookout for early signs of discoloration associated with spider and varicose veins:
You are more likely to develop abnormalities like varicose veins as you grow older. Like many things, your veins weaken over time. This could make them more susceptible to damage.
High Blood Pressure
Since varicose veins form from increased pressure within the damaged portion, it only makes sense to link their prevalence to high blood pressure. If you have a history of hypertension, you should take preventative steps to help you avoid their development.
Like many medical conditions, there is a hereditary component to varicose and spider veins. If you have family members with these conditions, you are more likely than others to develop them, too.
Your body undergoes a lot of changes during pregnancy. Increased blood volume designed to support and nourish your growing fetus puts additional strain on your veins. Hormonal changes may weaken vein walls. When combined, these factors drastically increase your likelihood of noticing spider and varicose veins during pregnancy.
If you are overweight or obese, you are at an increased risk of developing varicose vines. Excess weight increases the pressure that is put on your veins and circulatory system.
Standing in Place for Long Periods of Time
Standing in one place for extended periods, such as standing at a workstation on the job, can lead to swelling and pressure in your lower legs. It also significantly decreases circulation and blood flow, which compromised vein health.
Women are more likely than men to develop varicose veins. This appears to be linked to hormonal changes that weaken vein walls. Oral contraceptives may increase the risk further.
Other Venous Disorders
If you have been diagnosed with another venous disorder, such as blood clots or deep vein thrombosis, then your risk for developing spider and varicose veins is increased. These are serious venous disorders, and you should seek care for them. Dr. Shaheen is a board-certified vascular specialist and surgeon and can help you manage more than just your spider veins.
What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Them?
Prevention of a medical condition is almost always preferable to Sclerotherapy treatment after the fact. Luckily, there are some steps you can take to minimize your chances of developing varicose veins. While there is nothing you can do about your family history, you can take steps to improve your lifestyle. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:
Increase Physical Activity
Exercise is one of the best ways to minimize your chances of developing varicose veins. It increases circulation and improves overall heart health. Avoid standing in one place and walk or move around whenever possible if you have to be on your feet for extended lengths of time.
Keep Your Feet Elevated
If you must sit for prolonged periods, elevating your feet can help reduce pressure in your legs. Changing positions frequently and taking small breaks to get up and stretch will also help.
Lower Your Blood Pressure
Lowering your blood pressure reduces strain inside your veins and lowers your chance of causing damage to them. Talk to your doctor if you are struggling to maintain proper levels.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Excess weight is a leading cause of varicose veins and a host of other medical conditions. Take steps to keep your weight at a healthy level. Focus on a heart-healthy high-fiber diet and increased exercise for long-term results.
Wear Compression Stockings
Compression stockings are specially designed socks that apply pressure to your lower legs. They help reduce swelling and can promote proper circulation. They have become increasingly popular and are available in different colors, sizes, and compression strength.
Take the First Steps Toward Clearer Skin
You don’t have to live with varicose or spider veins. Safe Sclerotherapy treatment options are available. If you are ready to learn more about how sclerotherapy can help, we are here to help. Contact R Shaheen Vascular in Mountain View, CA today to schedule your initial consultation.