in Fort Worth, TX
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are small superficial clusters of veins that are close to the skin surface. Because they are carrying dark, de-oxygenated blood, they are visible on the skin surface. They are common in women as they age. There is a genetic component to developing spider veins, as well.
What is Sclerotherapy?
One sure sign that you’re getting older is the appearance of tiny clusters of squiggly clusters of red, purple, and blue lines on your thighs, calves, and ankles. Spider veins. Taking their name from their web-like appearance, spider veins aren’t usually painful but no one likes to see them show up on their legs. Dr. Menzies uses sclerotherapy to treat spider veins and smaller varicose veins.
What type of veins can be treated with sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is used for spider veins and very small varicose veins on the legs. Most varicose veins are too large for sclerotherapy, however, Dr. Menzies would need to inject too much sclerosant. For varicose veins, laser or radiofrequency ablation are the necessary treatments.
Am I a candidate for sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a simple procedure. It takes just a few minutes for Dr. Menzies to treat a series of spider vein clusters. If you have unsightly spider veins, there aren’t really any restrictions on these procedures. Reactions to the sclerosant are virtually nonexistent.
Sclerotherapy does not work on larger varicose veins, the veins that push the skin upward. Too much sclerosant would be required. These veins must be treated with laser or radiofrequency ablation or with manual vein stripping.
Pregnant women are not eligible; come in a few weeks after delivery. Also, be sure to tell Dr. Menzies if you have ever had a blood clot previously in your life. That could preclude you from having sclerotherapy, but he can decide based on your circumstances.
How is sclerotherapy performed?
Dr. Menzies uses a very tiny needle for sclerotherapy. Spider veins are near the surface of the skin, so the injections to address them do not need to be at much depth. Because of this, patients usually say the feeling of the procedure is akin to that of a pinprick.
At the start of your session, Dr. Menzies and you will discuss the spider veins and smaller varicose veins you’d like to remove. He then injects the sclerosant solution directly into the vein. At Southwest Vein & Leg Center, we use Asclera, an FDA-approved sclerosant solution that irritates the walls of the vein, causing them to collapse. This closes off the vein and any minor amount of blood running through it is instantly redirected to a healthier nearby vein. The vein instantly diminishes in appearance. Over the next few weeks, the body scavenges and removes the unused vein.
What should I expect during the sclerotherapy treatment?
These treatments with Dr. Menzies take only a few minutes, depending on how many spider veins you want to target. You’ll lie on our exam table and Dr. Menzies begins to inject the Asclera. Each vein cluster may take a couple of injections, but they close off instantly once the sclerosant has been injected into or next to the unwanted veins. Most of these veins instantly fade from view. Some still show traces, but they will fade away over the next weeks as the body scavenges and removes the unused veins.
Is Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins permanent?
Once Dr. Menzies injects these veins they close off. They will not reopen, and the body will dispose of them over the next few weeks. They are gone for good. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop new spider veins.
How can I prepare for Sclerotherapy?
Preparation for sclerotherapy with Dr. Menzies doesn’t involve much, but there are a few things you should do.
- Stop taking aspirin or anti-inflammatory medications (Advil, Motrin, ibuprofen), for one week before your sclerotherapy session. This helps to keep your bruising to a minimum.
- It’s good to be well hydrated prior to your appointment, so drink at least 16 fluid ounces of water four hours before your appointment.
- Don’t drink caffeine if you have a morning appointment.
- You’ll want to purchase your compression stockings that you’ll wear for the first 72 hours, and then as much as possible for two weeks or so. Look for 18-22 mm medical compression stockings such as Jobst or Sigvaris. We do have these for purchase at the office, as well.
- Don’t shave your legs prior to your session and afterwards for a couple days.
- Don’t apply lotion to your legs before your session and afterwards for a couple days (to allow the injection sites to fully heal).
- Wear shorts to your appointment, which is usually not a problem here in Fort Worth.
Recovery after Sclerotherapy
Dr. Menzies recommends that you wear compression hose during waking hours for one to two weeks. This is especially true if you had a number of veins treated. The pressure applied by these hose improves the body’s ability to immediately start absorbing these closed-off veins. Otherwise, walking and moderate exercise are fine immediately after your procedure. You should avoid any really strenuous exercise for about one week, however.
Is sclerotherapy painful?
Patients worry that these injections will be painful, but they are not. Dr. Menzies injects the sclerosant with a very tiny needle and only to a shallow depth. Patients equate the feeling of these injections to that of a pinprick.
Does sclerotherapy work immediately? When should I expect to see my final results?
Very small spider veins often disappear almost completely as soon as Dr. Menzies injects the sclerosant. But for most spider veins, their appearance diminishes upon injection, but they do not fully disappear. The vein is now closed off, and it will begin to turn into scar tissue and the body will dispose of it. The process of the body fully removing the unused closed-off vein can take around three or four weeks. Larger spider veins may take longer, and some may require a second sclerotherapy session.
After three months, your final results should be fully visible and you’ll love the changes in your legs without the clusters of purple, blue, and red spider veins coursing about on the surface skin.
How many times can you have sclerotherapy?
The sclerosant agents (hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulphate) used by Dr. Menzies are well-tolerated by the body. Reactions are virtually non-existent. For that reason, there isn’t a limit on how many times you can have sclerotherapy done. It depends on how many spider veins you have and if you want to get rid of lots of them or just those that are highly visible.
As mentioned above, smaller spider veins typically only need a single sclerotherapy treatment to go away completely. Larger veins may require a second treatment on the same cluster. After that, however, additional treatments elsewhere wouldn’t have any limitations.
And, if you developed one spider vein cluster, you can develop another. So, even if you’ve had various spider veins removed in the past, you can develop new ones and you may want to come back in to treat those.
Is sclerotherapy covered by insurance?
Because spider veins are considered a cosmetic nuisance rather than a health issue, these sclerotherapy treatments are usually not covered by health insurance. We provide them on a cash pay basis and we offer several options for payment.