Spider Vein Treatment | What is Sclerotherapy?
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Spider Vein Treatment – FAQ

What are spider veins?

Veins carry used blood to the heart through one-way valve systems. When there is a weakness in the vein wall or a faulty valve, the valve stretches and no longer closes properly. The veins become filled with blood that can’t flow normally, causing pain, swelling, discoloration, sores that won’t heal, blood clots and other problems. Spider veins are small superficial blood vessels that appear purple, red or blue in color. They commonly occur on the legs, but frequently occur on the face or elsewhere on the body. These dilated blood vessels, each about the size of a large hair, may be short, unconnected lines or connected in a matted, “sunburst” pattern. They may also look like a spider web or a tree with branches. They may occur in a small area or they can cover a large area of skin and can be considered cosmetically displeasing. Larger dilated blood vessels called varicose veins may be raised above the skin surface. They may occur along with spider veins. There may be discomfort, ranging from a dull throbbing pain to a burning sensation. The larger vessels are more likely to cause discomfort. Spider veins won’t disappear on their own though Sclerotherapy treatment is available to cause them to disappear or become much smaller.

Why do they occur?

The actual cause of spider veins has not been determined though there are several factors that play a role in the development. In many cases there seems to be a genetic predisposition for the occurrence. Spider veins may appear in men though they are more common in women. The female hormones, puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy and hormone replacement therapies often play a role in their development. They may also appear after an injury or as a result of wearing tight girdles or hosiery held up with tight rubber bands. Spider veins may also occur in association with large varicose veins. Spider veins may be related to sun exposure, long periods of standing, excessive body weight, the crossing of the legs when sitting and high impact aerobics that can dilate the vessel.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is an injection of a sclerosing agent – a special salt/sugar solution used for many years to treat unwanted blood vessels. A fine sterile needle is used to inject the Sclerodex® solution into the unwanted vessel. The solution is expected to irritate the lining of the vessel causing it to swell, stick together and the blood to thicken. Over a period of weeks the vessel turns into scar tissue that is absorbed, eventually becoming barely noticeable or invisible. This procedure has been used safely since the 1930’s for spider veins.

What is the treatment like?

The treatment is well tolerated by individuals. It has been commonly described as a tingling or slight burning sensation when the solution is injected into the vessel. A large number of small blood vessels may be infiltrated with the Sclerodex® solution through each given injection.

How often are the treatments?

A single blood vessel will usually have to be injected more than once. Appointments are booked at least two weeks apart. In any one-treatment session a number of vessels can be injected. After several treatments, most patients can expect a 75- 90 percent improvement. However, fading is gradual, usually over months. Disappearance of spider veins is usually achieved, but similar veins may appear in the same general area.

What is expected before the treatment?

Aspirin containing medications should be avoided 2 days before and after your treatment to minimize bruising. Do not drink alcoholic beverages or smoke for 2 days before and after your treatment; they impair healing. Shower and wash your legs thoroughly on the day of your treatment. Do not shave your legs the day of your appointment. Do not apply any cream or lotion to your legs, including tanning cream. Bring loose fitting shorts to wear during the treatment. Eat a light meal or snack 1 – 1½ hours before your appointment. If you sometimes get light headed during medical procedures, consider bringing someone to drive you home.

What is expected after the treatment?

Immediately following the injections the areas treated are red, bruised and slightly swollen in appearance. This will gradually subside over the next 2 – 3 weeks. In some cases you may be left with a residual brownish discolouration lasting several weeks or months. A pressure bandage is applied following the treatment and is recommended for 1-2 hours after the injections. Sigvaris stockings are recommended to improve the results of your treatment and to help prevent the reoccurrence of new spider vessels. Walking is encouraged in the post treatment phase to improve vascular circulation. Avoid long periods of standing, sitting or jarring exercises, as this will delay the healing response. Many clients return to the work place following their injections. After Sclerotherapy treatment it is not uncommon to experience some minor discomfort, swelling, redness or bruising at the injection site. Tylenol or ice packs may be used to reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. ASA (Aspirin) should be avoided as it may increase the chance of bruising in the treated area. A detailed post treatment information sheet will be given to you following the procedure.

Is this treatment for everyone?

Individuals with a history of deep vein thrombophlebitis, on prolonged bed rest, pregnant or breastfeeding, have a known allergy to any sclerosant agent, angina pectoris, uncontrolled diabetes, local or systemic infection, hyperthyroidism or underlying arterial disease should not consider Sclerotherapy as a treatment for their spider veins.

Treatments required and who performs them?

Under the direction of Dr. Doucette, a registered nurse trained in sclerotherapy will administer the treatment to the small spider vessels on the legs. Typically 2-6 treatment sessions are required to achieve desired results. Clients with varicose veins are often referred to a Vascular Surgeon for treatment.


To learn more about this procedure, call Image Anti-aging and Laser Clinic today at 519.438.5551 and schedule your complimentary consultation.

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