Injection sclerotherapy is the most common and accepted treatment of spider veins and most small varicose veins. A dilute, FDA approved chemical solution is injected into the veins through a very small needle. This medicine causes the inside of the wall or lining of the vein to become inflamed and close off. Injection sclerotherapy has an advantage over laser sclerotherapy because it allows treatment of a much larger area in a shorter period of time with less discomfort. Since today’s needles are very small, even patients with “needle phobia” tolerate injection sclerotherapy very well.
The medicine currently used by most experienced vein specialists causes less burning and pain than the concentrated saline solutions used in the past. Depending on the size and extent of veins injected, final results may take weeks to months to be fully appreciated. Compression stocking therapy is an important and mandatory part of successful sclerotherapy treatment. Staining of the skin may occur and can last up to one year or more although most veins fade within the first 6-12 weeks. Sclerotherapy is not an “eraser” technique and expectations should be discussed prior to treatment. Avoidance of direct sun exposure or tanning beds for two weeks following injection sclerotherapy is also mandatory to prevent the sun from worsening the staining. Injection sclerotherapy of today’s spider veins does not prevent future spider veins from developing.
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