Unsightly leg veins, also called ‘varicose’ or ‘spider veins’ have plagued both men and women for many years. The condition is known as Superficial Varicosities, and is a dilation of blood vessels near the surface of the skin. These blood vessels may become large and unsightly and can cause a dull aching of the leg after prolonged standing.
Although unsightly blood vessels do carry blood, a great majority of these vessels, especially spider veins, are not necessary for our circulatory systems. Therefore if their presence is distressing, they can be treated by injection of a solution that will cause them to disappear.
Are there any side effects to Sclerotherapy?
There are risks associated with Sclerotherapy, and whilst they are minimal, they do nonetheless occur in some people;
- 5-20% of patients develop light brown pigmentation over the area of the injected vessel. This usually disappears in over 80% of cases within six months. A few patients will have a persistent pigmentation for up to one year and very few patients will have a permanent persisting pigmentation.
- There may be a development of groups of fine red blood vessels. A new appearance of previously unnoticed fine red veins can occur after Sclerotherapy. These new veins can occur after two to three days and may not be visible until several weeks after treatment. Usually the condition improves in a few months without any specific treatment, but in rare cases is permanent.
- There may be some bruising, crusting, infection or swelling of the ankles. Pigmentation of the skin, known as Phlebitis (inflammation of the vein wall) may occur but usually settles within a few weeks. In some cases a network of tiny pink blood vessels may develop, however this can usually be treated successfully.
- In rare cases an ulcer may develop. which then will heal with only a flat scar remaining.
- There is a risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) after injection of the deep veins.
Most people are able to return to work immediately, although redness and inflammation of the treated areas is to be expected, and usually lasts one to two days.
Can unsightly blood vessels be eliminated?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure used to eliminate unsightly blood vessels of the legs by the injection of a fluid into the affected veins. The fluid is injected into the blood vessel using a very fine needle. This irritates the blood vessel walls, causing them to contract. Over the next three to four weeks the blood vessel is gradually reabsorbed and either fades or disappears completely.
How successful is Sclerotherapy?
After several treatments most patients can see some improvement in treated vessels., however the fading process is gradual and perfection seldom achieved. Most patients can expect a 70-90% improvement in treated veins.
How many times does Sclerotherapy treatment need to be done?
It varies depending on the number of areas that need to be treated, and on the patient’s response to each injection. It usually takes between one to six injections to effectively treat all the spider veins.
How soon will the blood vessels disappear?
The blood vessels will disappear over a period of six months but improvement can occur for up to twelve months after each treatment. The treatment works for existing spider veins, but does not prevent new spider veins from developing later.