Small varicose veins and spider veins — the thin, blue-red veins that appear in a network on the surface of the skin — can be treated with a fast, low-risk office procedure that involves injecting a solution into the vein, causing it to collapse and be absorbed into the body. After sclerotherapy, treated veins tend to fade within a few weeks, although occasionally it may take up to a month to see the full results. You may experience some temporary side effects such as bruising, swelling or night cramps for a time after the treatment.
When several veins are treated at once, the doctor will start the injections in veins in your thighs and move toward your ankles, and larger veins will be treated before smaller ones. If you have many veins to treat, several sclerotherapy procedures may be scheduled over multiple days. After each procedure is complete, you must wear compression stockings for up to three weeks to promote circulation, but you can immediately return to regular activities, including mild exercise.
Sometimes the source of spider veins is not near the surface of your skin. When a varicose vein that can’t be seen visually is causing surface blemishes, our physicians successfully treat the problem with a procedure called ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
The ultrasound allows the physician to see the problem vein on a monitor and guide a needle to the injection site. As with cosmetic sclerotherapy, a chemical is injected into the vein, causing it to collapse. The treatment will take place in our offices and will last up to an hour or two, depending on how many veins are treated.
More than one treatment may be necessary and it may take up to two months for the varicose veins to disappear from view. Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is also sometimes used to treat larger varicose veins in the leg.
Compression stockings are required after the procedure and although you will be able to go home and back to work, you should avoid exercise programs, alcohol and hot baths for a few days.