Varicose veins and spider veins affect millions of Americans each year. But these obviously visible veins aren’t just unattractive. They’re painful and cause health problems. At Mimi Lee M.D. PA in Little Rock, AR, Dr. Mimi Lee believes in treating each client with compassion and care while treating diseased veins and other cosmetic issues. Today, we’re talking about how sclerotherapy can make a huge difference in the health of your veins.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a common treatment method for spider veins and small varicose veins. It involves injecting a solution into the diseased vein, causing it to scar. Once the vein is closed, blood is rerouted through healthy veins. With time, the collapsed vein is reabsorbed into the surrounding tissue and fades.
The fading of visible diseased veins usually occurs within a few weeks. If the treated veins are particularly large, it can take a month or more to see the final results. In extreme cases, two to three treatments may be required. Dr. Lee schedules the follow-up appointments a month apart.
How Long Do Results Last?
Results from sclerotherapy are long-lasting. Once their initial treatments are complete, clients usually won’t need to come back for three to 10 years. Keep in mind, this treatment does not treat the underlying cause of the diseased veins, so new spider veins or small varicose veins may appear in the future.
When Should I Seek Treatment?
Many of our clients come in for sclerotherapy during the winter. This allows the affected veins plenty of time to disappear before spring and summer roll around. However, we treat clients for spider veins throughout the year. Even if you’re not planning to wear a spring wedding dress or skirt suits to work in the summer, you should come in for treatment if you start to have side effects from diseased veins.
What Are the Side Effects of Spider Veins?
The type and severity of your spider vein symptoms will differ from case to case. The most obvious symptom is cosmetic. Varicose veins and spider veins are unsightly, leaving many people self-conscious in shorts or bathing suits. However, there are medical repercussions associated with diseased veins. Affected veins often result in burning, swelling, aching and night cramps.
How to Prepare
Medical History and Physical
Before your sclerotherapy, Dr. Lee will conduct a physical examination to evaluate the affected veins and look for any underlying blood vessel disease. Then she will review your medical history. Be prepared to talk about any allergies you have, as well as any treatments you’ve already tried for your varicose or spider veins.
You may need to stop taking certain medications or supplements, such as iron supplements, blood thinners, aspirin, ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. You should also inform Dr. Lee if you have had a recent illness or an existing medical condition.
Depending on the location of the varicose veins, ultrasound imaging may be requested. Ultrasound is a painless process that uses sound waves to develop images of the structures within your body.
The Day Before Treatment
The day before your scheduled sclerotherapy, do not shave or apply lotion to your legs. Make sure you have loose, comfortable clothes to wear during your treatment. Many of our clients choose to wear shorts to their appointments.
What to Expect
This treatment is performed in our office and does not require anesthesia. You can expect the treatment to take no longer than an hour. Here’s what to expect during the treatment:
During the Treatment
During your sclerotherapy treatment session, you will lie on your back with your legs elevated slightly. Once the treatment site is cleansed with alcohol, Dr. Lee will use a very fine needle to inject the solution gently into the affected vein.
This liquid solution is unique in that it lacks saline, a saltwater solution that is known for causing discomfort. Our solution irritates the vein lining, causing it to swell shut and block blood flow, but without discomfort to you.
Eventually, the vein will transform into scar tissue and disappear. In the case of larger veins, a foam variation of the solution may be used. This is because foam covers far more surface area than liquid does.
Once the needle is withdrawn, all that’s left is to compress and massage of the treated area. This prevents blood from entering the treated vessel and disperses the solution. If multiple veins will be treated in one session, Dr. Lee may tape a compression pad onto the injection site to keep the treated area compressed. The number of injections you’ll need depends on the size of the veins being treated as well as the number of veins that must be treated.
After treatment, you will be able to get up and walk around. You can return to your normal routine on the same day, but you may want someone to drive you home following the procedure. Moreover, you’ll want to avoid unprotected sun exposure for a couple of weeks after treatment.
Spider veins and small varicose veins will usually disappear within three to six weeks. Larger varicose veins may take three to four months and several treatments to disappear completely.
Schedule Your Initial Consultation Today
Varicose veins and spider veins can be painful. Sclerotherapy can treat the condition and improve symptoms quickly. To learn more about this safe, effective treatment, contact Mimi Lee, MD in Little Rock, AR today to set up an appointment.