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SCLEROTHERAPY FOR LEG VEINSSclerotherapy is a treatment for varicose veins and spider veins where medication (a sclerosing solution) is injected directly into the vein causing it to immediately shrink. It is always the first line of treatment to remove leg veins. 99% of all leg vein therapy patients in our office are treated with sclerotherapy. The sclerosing agents we use are Asclera, Sotradecol and Glycerin.
SCLEROTHERAPY PROCEDUREUnwanted leg veins are injected with the sclerosing agent, with a very thin needle, and the vein immediately shrinks. After the immediate shrinkage of the vein occurs, the vein will continue to dissolve over a period of a few weeks as the body naturally proceeds to absorb the sclerosed vein.
After treatment, your leg is wrapped up in compression bandages or a stocking to keep slight pressure on the area. Our doctors advise sclerotherapy patients to walk as often as possible for 2 weeks after the initial sclerotherapy treatment to allow the medication to flow through the vein.
The side effects of a sclerotherapy treatment are generally minimal. In some cases, patients will experience some itching around the treated area. Additionally, some patients experience raised red areas around the injection site, or slight bruising. Dr. Groff will further explain possible side effects of sclerotherapy if you have more questions or concerns.
LASERS FOR LEG VEINSLasers can be used for leg veins not erased with sclerotherapy, but this is usually not necessary. Other offices may use lasers for leg veins if they are not confident with sclerotherapy. Since our doctors are experts in sclerotherapy, we start with sclerotherapy treatments (before using lasers) because it offers the best vein removal results. Our doctors will further explain laser options with you if laser treatments are necessary.
LEG VEINS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What causes leg veins?Leg veins are a result of a backup of blood caused by weak or damaged valves in the veins. The heart pumps blood filled with oxygen and nutrients to the whole body through arteries. Veins then carry the blood back to the heart. Valves inside the veins act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves up your legs. If the valves become weak, blood can leak back and collect there, causing the veins to get bigger and therefore visible. Leg veins are blue because they are deep and large.
How can I prevent leg veins?The following will help to prevent your chances of getting visible leg veins: Exercise regularly, don’t cross your legs for long periods of time when sitting, control your weight, don’t stand or sit for long periods of time, elevate your legs when resting, wear elastic support stocking, and avoid tight clothing.
Does sclerotherapy hurt?Sclerotherapy is generally not a painful procedure. We use a very small needed to inject a liquid solution into the vein. It may cause a small burning sensation, but most of our patients find the pain very tolerable. Plus, the procedure is performed under a local anesthetic, reducing the ability to feel pain.
How many sclerotherapy treatments are usually needed?At our practice, 90% of patients only require 1 treatment. However in some cases a patient will need need 3-5 treatments, performed 4-6 weeks apart.
Is Sclerotherapy The Only Treatment For Varicose or Spider Veins?Scleroptherapy is the most common procedure performed on spider veins or varicose veins. It is the most effective treatment available today for elimination of large veins. Not only is it effective in eliminating the unsightly vein but it actually helps prevent the vein from coming back. The sclerosing agent also closes the smaller veins (feeder veins) that contributed to the larger one targeted for treatment. This greatly reduces the odds that the vein will reappear.
What are varicose veins?Varicose veins are large blue, dark purple veins. They often bulge from the skin and may even have a cord-like appearance. They are most frequently found on the legs.
What are spider veins?Spider veins are very small and usually red or blue in color. They are much closer to the surface compared to varicose veins. They can look like a thin red line, tree branches or a spider web. Spider veins can be found on the legs, face, and may cover a small or large area.
What are reticular veins?Reticular veins are known as feeder veins. They are blue and green veins beneath the surface of the skin. They enlarge because of increased pressure in the vein and can be caused by heredity.
How common are leg veins?Varicose veins and spider veins are very common. Approximately half of the population 50+ years old has leg veins, so you are not alone!
What factors increase my risk for leg veins? What causes spider veins?The following factors will increase your risk for leg veins / can cause leg veins:
- Heredity: Having a family member who has leg veins may increase your risk of developing them. Approximately ½ of people who have varicose veins have a family history of them.
- Age: The normal wear and tear of aging cases valves in the veins to weaken and the backup of blood causes visible veins.
- Gender: Women are 2-3 times more likely to develop varicose veins than men, due to changes in hormones with puberty, pregnancy, menopause and with birth control pills.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy the growth of the fetus increase pressure on leg veins. However, leg veins that occur during pregnancy usually improve within 3-12 months after delivery.
- Overweight and Obesity: Having extra body weight can put additional pressure on veins.
- Prolonged Standing/Sitting: This is especially true with legs bent or crossed, as this causes veins to work harder to pump blood back up to the heart.