When looking for a way to get rid of spider veins and small varicose veins, you’re going to come across sclerotherapy treatment. This treatment, which can be performed by Reflections Skin & Laser Center in Cartersville, GA, is an excellent, minimally-invasive treatment that will remove your undesirable spider veins. However, not everyone is a good candidate.
Who Is the Ideal Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Without an examination, we cannot say for sure that you’ll be a good candidate for this treatment; however, in general, if you’re looking for a non-surgical way to eliminate spider veins and small varicose veins, you should definitely look into it. The ideal candidate is between the ages of 30 and 60, has not experienced any blood clotting disorders, and has not become pregnant or given birth in the last three months.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a sclerosing solution directly into the spider or varicose vein. The solution irritates the vein and eventually makes it non-viable for blood circulation. These veins collapse, turn into scar tissue, and are later absorbed by the body. The body creates new veins to reroute the blood that once went through the spider veins. The treated veins do not return, but other spider veins can appear in the same area, even though the risk will be lower.
Causes of Spider Veins
There is no one direct cause of spider veins, but obesity, hormones, age, pregnancy, sun exposure, facial pressure, prolonged standing, and a history of blood clots are all risk factors. The biggest risk factor of spider veins, though, is heredity. If your parents or grandparents suffered from spider or varicose veins, you’re more likely to as well. As you get older, your skin becomes thinner, which also means your veins that are close to the surface become more visible.
These risk factors can cause the valves in your veins that ensure your blood only flows one way and does not pool, to malfunction. If a valve does not open and allow blood to flow through to the next vein, it will pool in the affected vein and cause the vein to bulge. Those that bulge only slightly and sprout branched veins are called spider veins. Those that bulge significantly and have a twisted rope appearance are called varicose veins.
Spider veins, which are the majority of veins treated with sclerotherapy, don’t have many symptoms. They are essentially visible veins that have many branches running off in various directions and often occur on the legs and face. They can be embarrassing, which is why many people choose to get them treated. They may itch, but are rarely painful, and are generally harmless if you decide not to have them treated. Small varicose veins, though, may be painful and more serious.
The biggest benefit of this treatment is that it is highly effective at eliminating spider veins and small varicose veins. In most cases, after a single treatment, your veins will disappear within three to six weeks, although some bigger veins may take longer. You can also have repeat treatments with no ill effects if you don’t achieve the desired results the first time around. Your confidence and self-esteem will improve, which is the best benefit of all.
Other benefits include the fact that it’s a non-surgical solution, there is very little downtime following the treatment, and the actual treatments take no longer than 30 minutes (depending on how many veins you’re having treated). You can make your appointment for your lunch hour! Since you don’t have to be hospitalized to get this treatment, you also don’t have to pay for expensive general anesthesia and a recovery room, making this treatment much more affordable than other solutions.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, there is very little preparation that you have to undergo before having this treatment. We simply ask that you don’t shave or apply lotion to the injection site the day before your appointment and that you wear loose clothing to the office. Many people elect to wear shorts so they don’t have to change clothes before the treatment, but if you can’t wear shorts for some reason, bring a pair to change into.
We also ask that you refrain from taking blood-thinning medications and supplements like aspirin and vitamin E to minimize bleeding during the treatment. If you’re taking prescription blood thinners, please let us know at your consultation so we can advise you properly and make adjustments as needed. Since compression stockings can help you heal faster and make your spider veins disappear more quickly, bring a pair to your appointment to wear afterward. We can help you choose the right pair.
As mentioned above, the recovery time for this treatment is very short. You’ll be able to resume your daily activities immediately following your appointment. In fact, it’s important to move and walk around afterward because it will get your blood circulating in your legs. We will ask you to wear compression stockings for about three weeks following your treatment to encourage blood circulation and healing. You should also refrain from strenuous exercise and avoid sun exposure for 14 days.
Not all spider veins and small varicose veins can be prevented, especially since up to 90% of patients who have spider veins have a family history of them. Age and thinning skin is another risk that can’t always be removed. However, there are quite a few lifestyle risk factors that can mitigate the possibility of getting spider veins as you age.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity causes extra pressure on your lower veins, which can damage the valves that control the blood flow through the veins. Additionally, obesity inhibits proper blood flow as well, leading to the propensity of your blood to pool in your veins. This then leads to the enlargement of your veins, and eventually, to spider veins or varicose veins.
Get Regular Exercise
Not only does this keep your weight down, but exercise also encourages proper blood circulation throughout the body. Be aware that over-exercising, though, can actually put added pressure on your veins, as they have to work harder to pump the blood back to your heart. Strive for a good balance of activity to avoid moving into the danger zone.
Avoid Standing for Prolonged Periods
This can be difficult if you have a job that requires you to stand for hours on end, but it’s also one of the biggest risk factors for spider veins. If possible, sit down for at least 10 minutes each hour, and if that isn’t something you can do, get a small step or box to put in your workspace. Alternate resting your feet on the step or box so that you aren’t putting pressure on both legs at once.
Elevate Your Legs
Whenever possible, elevate your legs above your heart so that your blood doesn’t have an opportunity to pool in the veins of your legs. This is especially important if you’re on your feet all day, since gravity works against your blood moving back to your heart. Not only will this help prevent spider vein development, but it will also keep the swelling down in your ankles and calves.
Wear Compression Stockings
Just as we have you wear compression stockings following your treatment, we recommend anyone at high risk of spider veins to wear them regularly as well. As mentioned above, these special stockings gently massage your legs (or arms, if you use compression sleeves) to encourage blood flow. The muscles in your veins’ walls don’t have to work so hard to pump the blood against gravity because the stockings are helping them do it.
Avoid Tight Clothing
Tight clothing restricts blood flow, especially if it’s tight around your waist, pelvis, or legs. Restricting blood circulation means it will pool in veins below where the clothing is tight, usually in your legs. The pooling of blood is what enlarges your veins and makes them visible.
Avoid Excessive Use of Saunas and Hot Tubs
The heat in saunas and hot tubs causes your veins to swell, which increases the chances of them bulging. When they bulge, not only do they become more visible, but they also allow more blood to flow through them, which can then pool if the valves aren’t working properly.
This prevention tip is mostly meant for those who get spider veins on their face, but you should also put sunscreen on any part of your body that is going to be exposed to the sun’s UV rays. This protects the skin and keeps it from allowing veins to become visible. Additionally, wear a sun-blocking hat and clothing if you intend to be outside for extended periods of time.
Drink Alcohol in Moderation
Alcohol causes veins to dilate, which can increase the volume of blood moving through them. If the veins have damaged valves, the extra blood will have nowhere to go and will pool in the veins. Additionally, the sudden rush of blood to the face can cause broken blood vessels, which are sometimes a cause of facial spider veins.
Consult a Dermatologist
If you have a skin condition, such as rosacea, you’re at a higher risk of getting spider veins on your face. A dermatologist can assess your condition and suggest treatments, including sclerotherapy.
Risks of Not Getting Treated
As previously stated, spider veins are generally harmless, so there are no increased risks if you decide the treatment isn’t right for you. However, the treatment itself is low risk with high rewards. You’re probably tired of using concealers to cover up your spider veins, or if you don’t use concealers, maybe you would like to expand your wardrobe so you can wear items that reveal more of your skin, such as shorts and bathing suits.
The treatment isn’t necessarily right for everyone, but most people with spider veins can eliminate the embarrassing condition with just a few minutes in our office. Of course, we’ll go over your medical history and give you a full examination to ensure you’re healthy enough to undergo the treatment, but most people are, and they experience great relief when their spider veins ultimately disappear. We will prepare an individualized treatment plan designed specifically for your goals in mind.
Additionally, some people do experience discomfort with spider veins, even if they only itch. Wouldn’t it be nice to no longer have that discomfort to worry about? Smaller varicose veins can even cause pain, which this treatment can eliminate forever.
As long as you don’t have one of the above-mentioned conditions, you are likely a good candidate for this treatment. Contact our experts at Reflections Skin & Laser Center in Cartersville, GA to schedule your initial consultation today!