Varicose Vein (Spider Vein) Therapy
What are Spider Veins and Vascular Lesions?
Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are those tiny purple and red blood vessels found most commonly on the thighs or lower legs of women. They are hereditary and can form anywhere on the leg, from the top of the thigh to the ankle, and even on the face. Reticular Varicose veins are larger veins that usually appear raised with a bluish color and can become quite painful. Although spider veins and varicose veins carry blood, they are not part of the venous valve system. Your spider veins and varicose veins can be eliminated permanently through a simple in spa procedure called Sclerotherapy as well as Laser Vein Therapy.
What causes Spider Veins and Vascular Lesions?
The cause of spider veins is not completely known, but in many cases the conditions seem to be related to genetics. For example, sometimes identical twins are affected in the same area of the body. Other factors that may play a role include hormonal changes, skin disease, and/or sun damage. The appearance of spider veins seems to be a normal part of the aging process.
Spider veins appear in both men and women, but more frequently in women. Female hormonal changes such as puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy and/or hormone replacement therapy may play a role in the development of spider veins.
Spider veins in the legs may also appear after an injury. Spider veins can also occur along with circulatory issues such as large varicose veins. Spider veins that occur on the nose or the cheeks of light skinned individuals may be related to excess sun exposure.
How Sclerotherapy Works
A sclerosing solution is injected into the vein through a micro needle which generally causes very little pain. The sclerosing solution causes the vein to blanch (turn white), harden and collapse, and then gradually disappear. A typical treatment may last for 15 to 30 minutes and consist of 70 - 100 injections. Blood circulation is carried out through healthy veins located deeper within the body, so the outward appearance and sometimes pain associated with the problem veins is significantly reduced. Injection sclerotherapy may eliminate the need for an invasive surgical procedure.
What to Expect
- Prior to treatment, we will review your complete medical history to determine how long you have had a problem with your veins and the severity of the problem.
- Our Medical Director/ARNP may perform a quick test to determine if the venous system is affected. If it is, surgery may be advised before sclerotherapy is attempted and we can refer you to a qualified surgeon. In most cases, however, sclerotherapy will save the area in question.
- You?ll be lying on a medical bed/chair similar to the medical chairs you find in a Dentist?s office.
- Most patients require multiple injections to completely correct their targeted veins. A minor stinging or burning sensation is common during and right after the injections are made, but is short lived.
- After the treatment is finished, a bandage will be applied and we strongly recommend the use of compression or stockings for at least a few days.
- First, the area is thoroughly cleansed with alcohol.
- Larger veins are usually treated first using a tiny syringe fitted with a micro needle.
- A typical treatment last 15 to 30 minutes and consists of 70- 100 injections.
- A minor stinging or burning sensation is common during and right after the injections are made, but is short lived.
- After the treatment is finished, a bandage will be applied and we strongly recommend the use of compression stockings for at least a few days.
- In most cases, about 50-70% of the treated vessels will be permanently resolved. However, new veins may appear and additional treatments at 3-week intervals may be required for optimum results.
Recovery & Results
Wearing compression stockings to help keep pressure on the veins, will reduce bruising and help keep the treated veins closed. Bruises around the treated areas usually disappear after the first week. A tan or brownish pigment may persist for 6 to 8 weeks when larger veins are involved. Occasionally, small, harmless clots can develop at the injection site. These can easily be removed in our office to facilitate healing.
Patients are generally encouraged to resume normal activities immediately. We do ask that you refrain from vigorous activities for the first 24 hours. Walking is encouraged because it increases blood flow through the other veins. Although your final results may not be apparent for several months, most patients experience a 60% to 80% improvement.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sclerotherapy
Where is the Sclerotherapy procedure done?
Since sclerotherapy is minimally-invasive and almost pain-free, it can be performed in our spa. Anesthesia is not needed and complications are infrequent.
Is sclerotherapy safe?
Yes. Because the procedure is minimally-invasive, very few side effects are associated with it. Some minor itching and burning immediately after the treatment is normal and quickly fades. In rare cases, allergic reactions, infection at the injection site, or complications associated with poor injection technique are possible.
How many Sclerotherapy treatments are required?
The number of sessions required depends on the depth, number, and size of the veins being treated. While some patients are happy with the results after just one treatment, others may desire further injections for the optimal effect. These follow up treatments should be spaced at least four weeks apart so that the affects of the previous treatment can be accurately evaluated before injecting more. Patients can determine the amount of treatments they may need and the cost associated with them by discussing their situation with our Medical Director/Injection Specialist.
Do I have to limit any activity after my Sclerotherapy treatment?
It is important to walk regularly to encourage good circulation after you have had sclerotherapy. You should not participate in any strenuous activity for the initial days after your treatment.
Can sclerotherapy be done on the arms or face?
Yes, it is currently considered safe to perform sclerotherapy on the hands, arms, face and other areas previously avoided in this treatment. Ask our Medical Director during your consultation about the options available for treating blemishes and vein problems in these delicate areas.
Can anyone undergo sclerotherapy?
Nearly everyone with unsightly spider veins is eligible for treatment, unless they are pregnant or breastfeeding. Also, individuals with skin infections, uncontrolled diabetes, a history of deep vein thrombosis, and those who are taking anticoagulants or corticosteroids should not have sclerotherapy. If you are unsure of your candidacy, consult a specialist for a personal evaluation. Be sure to share all of your concerns and a complete medical history during your consultation and our Medical Director will be able to determine if you are a candidate for sclerotherapy.
Is there any preparation required before sclerotherapy?
There is no formal regimen for the preparation of sclerotherapy, although doctors will recommend that patients stop taking aspirin and smoking during the few days before the treatment.
Does insurance cover sclerotherapy?
Most insurance providers do not cover cosmetic procedures, including sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider veins, because it is not deemed a medically necessary procedure. If you are experiencing negative medical side effects such as pain as a result of the dysfunctional vein, the procedure may be covered to an extent. Talk to your insurance carrier for more information. Ambrosia MedSpa does not bill insurance companies but we can provide you with the appropriate documentation so you can submit to your carrier.
How much does Sclerotherapy cost?
The cost depends on the number of treatments you need. We encourage you to come in for a consultation at which point we can give you a more precise quote.
Are fair-skinned people more prone to spider veins?
Maybe. Veins are more easily visible through their skin. Women, too, are slightly more likely than men to develop spider veins.
Do spider veins have a purpose?
No. They are not necessary to the functioning of your circulatory system. That?s why removing them poses no harm. In fact, these veins are malfunctioning and may be safely treated.
Can pregnant women undergo spider vein removal?
Pregnancy can cause spider veins to develop in susceptible women. It?s best, however, to wait until after the pregnancy is over to have the veins treated?in part, because the veins sometimes fade away on their own once the baby is born. You should also wait until you?ve finished breastfeeding.
Do spider veins hurt?
No. But varicose veins often do. If you have any veins that are causing you pain or discomfort, you should see your doctor. Untreated, varicose veins can lead to medical complications, including blood clots and ulcers.
Why doesn?t insurance cover spider vein removal?
Spider veins are not medically problematic. Therefore, their treatment is not considered medically necessary?and is not covered by any insurance policies. Insurance companies may, however, cover the treatment of varicose veins. That?s because untreated varicose veins can lead to several serious health problems. If spider veins are located near varicose veins, their removal may sometimes be covered as part of the overall procedure. Remember that approval is not necessarily automatic and Ambrosia does not bill insurance companies. However, we can provide the necessary diagnostic codes and paperwork for you to submit to your insurance company.
How do hormonal factors contribute to the development of spider veins?
The hormones estrogen and progesterone, which fluctuate during a woman?s monthly cycle and to a much greater extent during pregnancy, appear to soften the valves and walls of veins. This leaves the veins more susceptible to becoming engorged. Some women may be more prone to this hormonal effect than others.
Can an injury cause spider veins to form?
Yes. A physical injury can cause bruising, which is, essentially, broken blood vessels under the skin. If your body reacts to the injury with an inflammatory response, the blood vessels may enlarge. Although the bruising may heal, the veins may remain weakened?a factor that may later lead to the formation of spider veins on that area of the body.
Can spider veins return after treatment?
No. The veins you had treated won?t return. Over time, however, you may form new veins near the very same spot. Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding prolonged standing, wearing compression stockings, and other self-help measures can sometimes?but not always?help prevent their formation.