Before and After
Treating Spider and Varicose Veins with Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy, which has been available since the 1930’s is another treatment option for varicose veins and spider veins. This procedure uses a highly concentrated saline solution or a specially made detergent that is injected directly in to the vein, causing the vein to disappear gradually over three to six weeks. The procedure is simple, relatively inexpensive, can be performed in an outpatient setting. Complications are minimal but do include pigment staining, blisters, and –rarely-formation of a skin ulcer. Patients are encouraged to maintain their active lifestyles immediately following the injections. They are able to drive themselves home after the procedure because no sedation is needed for relatively painless procedure.
In sclerotherapy, a sclerosing agent is injected into the veins using fine disposable needles. The procedure has been refined in more recent years for injecting tiny superficial veins (microsclerotherapy). The solution destroys the layer of cells that line the vein wall causing the vein to close, preventing any blood flow. Small veins fade over a period of six weeks or so, large varicose veins take longer.
Prominent veins frequently have to be injected more than once. In any one treatment sessions many veins may be injected. This can involve 6-10 injections for large varicose veins and some 50 or more injections for smaller spider veins. The largest and deepest veins need to be treated first. The treatment required is determined by an ultrasound examination which gives you a precise diagnosis of any significant vein abnormalities. Endovenous laser ablation and ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGS) can be used to treat larger varicose veins- which avoids the necessity for any surgery.
Success Rate Surface Veins
Treatment results cannot be guaranteed due to the variation in response from one patient to the next. Two treatments are normally required in the same region to obtain reasonably good results. Sometimes multiple sessions may be necessary to achieve a good clearance. The fading process is gradual with treated veins fading slowly up to 6 weeks or more after a treatment. Repeat treatments are therefore organised around 6 weeks or more apart.
Ultrasound Guided Injections: Varicose veins can be closed from a single treatment in most patients, however repeat procedures are often required to achieve permanent closure. Large, and smaller but smaller but stubborn veins can require several treatments over time. No scars, hospitalisation or time off work are significant advantages of this technique.
Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Varicose veins are abnormal,dilated or swollen blood vessels caused by a weakening in the vessel wall. You can often see the varicose veins under the skin as blue or purple veins that are bulging or twisted and are sometimes surrounded by thin spider veins (groups of narrow blood vessels located close to the surface of the skin.)
Varicose and spider veins can appear anywhere, but most often appear on legs and In the pelvic area. Most varicose veins develop near the surface of the skin. Deeper varicose veins can’t be seen but might cause the skin above them to swell, or become darker or hard. In general there are three types of veins in the legs (called superficial veins, deep veins or perforating veins) and varicose veins represent enlarged superficial veins.
Each of these types of veins contains valves that help the body to take the blood from your legs up to the heart against the pull of gravity. The primary disorder in varicose veins is related to a weakened vein wall that stretches over time and results in damaged valves. These abnormal valves then allow blood back up to your heart.
Varicose veins are very common and almost 50% of women between 40 and 50 years of age, and nearly 75% of women between 60 and 70 years of age have these surface led veins. Varicose veins also occur in men but are less common than in women. Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic nuisance. Half of all patients who seek treatment do so because of pain and discomfort.
We do not know the causes of varicose veins and spider veins. However, in many cases, they run in families. Women seem to get the problem more often than men. Changes in ostrogen levels in a woman’s blood may have a role in the development of varicose veins.
A number of factors predispose a person to varicose and spider veins. These include
- Heredity – the genes you have inherited from mum and dad
- Occupations that involve sitting or standing for prolonged periods
- Hormonal influences during pregnancy and multiple pregnancies
- The use of birth control pills
- Post – menopausal hormonal replacement
- A history of blood clots or previous DVT
- A history of smoking
Factors that may increase your risk of developing varicose veins include:
- standing or sitting for long periods
- being immobile for long periods – for example, being confined to bed
- lack of exercise
- Swollen, twisted clusters of purple or blue veins
- Swollen legs, heavy, legs, restless legs
- Soreness , or aching in the legs
- Muscle cramps at night
- Soreness behind the knee
- Itching inflammation around the vein
- Leg muscles that tire easily
- Brown discolouration of the skin
- Ulcers in the leg can develop
- Increased risk for DVT ( Deep Vein Thrombosis)
Varicose veins occur when healthy veins swell and cause blood to back up and pool inside the vein under high pressure. (Normally, blood flows through the vein in one direction toward the heart.) Varicose veins become a new route for blood to flow. The exact cause of varicose veins is unknown, although heredity, pregnancy, obesity, and hormonal changes are contributing factors to this condition. Standing for long periods of time and wearing tight underwear or clothing might also cause varicose and spider veins.