Spider Veins are small clusters of red, purple, or blue web-like veins. These can appear anywhere on the body, but are primarily seen on the face, thighs, calves, and ankles. Up to half of all women may experience Spider Veins at some point during their life. While these unsightly veins normally occur with age, they can also be triggered by pregnancy, hormonal shifts, weight gain, and long hours on the feet. Without proper medical treatment, Spider Veins will not go away on their own,
There are two main choices in the removal of Spider Veins: Sclerotherapy and Laser Vein Therapy. Both of these treatments can provide excellent results. Dr. Hillelson will discuss both options during the consultation appointment, and decide which treatment style will be most effective.
- Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a medicated solution, deeply into the vein. This will displace the blood, making the vein immediately appear lighter. The solution will also irritate the lining of the vein so that it will eventually collapse. Sclerotherapy is the go-to procedure for Spider Vein Removal however, it can be difficult to use on extremely tiny veins.
- Laser Vein Therapy uses pulses of concentrated light to coagulate the blood within the targeted vein. As this disrupts the blood flow, the vein will no longer function, and therefore will be reabsorbed by the body. Spider veins on the face or chest can be well treated with Laser Vein Therapy, although those on the legs may be more resistant.
The Sclerotherapy Procedure:
Sclerotherapy is performed in the American Self office suite, taking about half an hour. Once the area has been cleaned, a very small needed will be used to inject the medication into the targeted vein. There is little to no discomfort associated with the procedure, making anesthesia unnecessary. Patients generally report a mild burning sensation as the medication is injected into the vein, although this only lasts a few seconds.
The Recovery After Sclerotherapy:
For the first 48 hours, bandages or support hose will need to be worn to keep the vein closed. As heat can encourage blood flow, hot baths, whirlpools, and saunas should be avoided, although a cool shower is fine. No hot compresses should be used on the treatment area for several days.
The full benefits of Sclerotherapy will be seen in about three to four weeks, once the body has had time to naturally absorb the broken veins. While some areas will only require one Sclerotherapy treatment, others may need a repeat procedure for optimal results. These will be spaced several weeks apart.
Laser Vein Removal Procedure:
Laser Vein Therapy will take between 15 and 30 minutes in the office. No anesthesia is required during treatment; most patients report only a small pinch during the treatment. The targeted area is first cleaned; then a small, handheld laser will be directed over the vein. Very fast, intense pulses of laser light will be emitted toward the targeted vein. In just a few minutes, the Laser Vein Treatment will be complete.
The Recovery After Laser Vein Therapy:
As a Laser Vein Therapy session requires no downtime. Patients will feel well enough to return to work or school the same afternoon. Strenuous exercise will need to be postponed for three to five days after a Laser Spider Vein session. Prolonged exposure to the sun and to UV rays should also be avoided for the several weeks. The legs should remain slightly elevated for the first couple of days, especially for those patients who spend long hours behind a desk. Patients with large treatment areas may be required to wear support hose.
As the body begins to absorb the blood and collapsed vein, over three to four weeks, the full results of a treatment will begin to appear. Two to three Laser Vein Therapy sessions, spaced a few weeks apart, may be required to completely resolve the Spider Vein.
The Ideal Candidate for Spider Vein Therapy:
Men and women of any age, who are unhappy with the appearance of Spider Veins, can benefit from treatment. The ideal candidate will be in overall good health, understand the therapy process, and hold realistic expectations for their results. At American Self Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedics, a consultation will be scheduled to determine if Spider Vein Therapy is right for the individual patient.
It is important to remember that Spider Veins are not the same as Varicose Veins. These are larger and darker in color, often with a rope-like’ appearance. As these can be the sign of a more serious health problem, Varicose Veins should be medically evaluated by prior to treatment.
The Risks of Spider Vein Therapy:
Spider Vein Therapy is considered extremely safe and effective. When performed by an experienced provider, few complications should occur after Spider Vein Therapy. With either technique, patients can expect minor redness and swelling at the treatment site. Bruising may appear but should dissipate over the following two weeks. Discoloration may occur, caused by a small coagulation blood, and may last up to 12 months.
Vein Removal FAQ:
A laser Spider Vein treatment at American Self will take between 15 and 30 minutes.
There is no downtime required after laser Spider Vein treatment. Patients are well enough to immediately return to work or school, although strenuous exercise should be postponed for three to five days.
The results from Sclerotherapy are not immediate. It will take three to four weeks after treatment, for the full benefit of the American Self Spider Vein treatment.
Laser Vein Therapy, when executed by an experienced nurse, aesthetician, or provider, holds very few risks. If problems occur, these can include skin irritation and hyperpigmentation.