Sclerotherapy is a safe, painless and effective method to treat spider veins on lower extremities. Spider veins on lower extremities constitute a very common problem, especially for women. Sclerotherapy does not require anesthesia, hospitalization or absence from one’s daily activities. It is easy to apply, and does not require the patient to receive pre-medication (prophylactic treatment). When performed by specialists, such as the medical staff of Cosmetic Derma Medicine, it can produce excellent aesthetic results.
Sclerotherapy involves the intravenous injection of a strong solution, the sclerosant, on the varicose venous parts of the lower extremities that present valve failure, which results in the pathological stasis of the blood and their dilation.
Sclerotherapy treatment of spider veins involves the injection of sclerosing agents inside the enlarged veins of the lower extremities. The substances that are used activate the vein’s clotting mechanisms, damage the internal lining of the vein and cause blood clotting within the vein, which results in the destruction of their lumen, and ultimately to their decomposition.
The most widely used sclerosant is polidocanol, a very effective agent with practically no side effects. More than one session is required to achieve a complete and aesthetically good result. The number of sessions between patients varies from 2 to 6. The interval between treatments is approximately four weeks. At the end of a session the doctor advises the use of compression stockings or socks for 2-3 days.
The most frequent indications for sclerotherapy
are the unsightly enlarged veins that appear on the lower extremities. Sclerotherapy is the best method for treating 1-6 mm lower extremity spider veins. It is mostly performed for cosmetic purposes. At the same time however, sclerotherapy is able to improve the significant clinical symptoms that accompany lower extremity spider veins, such as swollen feet, burning sensation and pain. Sclerotherapy may also be combined with laser treatment to better address the problem.
Practically all people may be subjected to sclerotherapy. Contraindications include pregnancy, breast feeding and long-term use of contraceptives. Relative contraindications include anticoagulant treatment, history of venous thromboembolism (VTE), diabetes mellitus, and severe asthma (under cortisone treatment).
Sclerotherapy practically lacks adverse effects. Mild burning and warmth sensation may be experienced on the treated areas directly after treatment. This sensation resolves very quickly and does not cause significant concern to the patient.
Temporary bruising may develop at the site where the vessel was destroyed, which gradually subsides with the use of special creams. It will completely resolve within 7 to 10 days.
A small proportion of patients may develop mild hyperpigmentation (brown spot) at the treatment site, which is usually transient and gradually subsides and disappears with the use of special creams.
Sclerotherapy with polidocanol is a very effective and safe treatment that eliminates lower extremity spider veins. Some patients see immediate results, while others must wait up to three months to get rid of the unsightly enlarged veins. The clinical picture improves by 90–95%. For a better result, the patient is advised to wear compression stockings for 2 to 7 days after treatment.
The cost for spider vein treatment starts at €100 per session.
Sclerotherapy is the most effective treatment for leg veins and may be very well combined with laser for vascular lesions, which is very drastic on spider veins smaller in diameter.
The coexistence of lower extremity varicose veins and venous insufficiency may require evaluation by our clinic’s vascular surgeon and laser treatment.
FAQ’s on sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is performed with the use of very fine needles and the patient rarely feels pain. Also, polidocanol causes no pain or intolerance, and the vein elimination process is practically painless.
The number of sessions depends on the extent of the problem. Some veins disappear at the first session. It usually takes 2 to 3 sessions for these unsightly veins to completely disappear.
If you have varicose veins on your legs, you must get a triplex before undergoing sclerotherapy, to exclude the possibility of venous insufficiency. After treatment you must refrain from extended standing, and wear compression stockings for 2 or 3 days to prevent the veins from appearing again.
Sclerotherapy with the use of polidocanol has no side effects if it is performed by a specialized doctor. Patients are able to return to their normal activities without any problem or discomfort after treatment.