Spider veins commonly appear on your legs, feet, or ankles as red or purple networks of broken blood vessels. They can also appear on the face. They are typically painless but can be unsightly and make you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious.
Spider veins are easily treatable using procedures like sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is one of the most effective treatments for eliminating small varicose veins and spider veins. It involves injecting a chemical solution called a sclerosant directly into the problematic vein. The sclerosant closes the vein and directs the blood flow into healthier veins. The closed vein is reabsorbed by the body and disappears with time.
Sclerotherapy can be done for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of spider veins and regain self-confidence. It can also relieve spider vein and varicose vein symptoms such as pain, swelling, discomfort, cramps, burning, or itching. It is a simple, cost-effective, minimally invasive, and quick procedure with a minimal recovery time.
Before sclerotherapy, your doctor will perform a physical examination to check your veins. They will also check your medical history for any underlying vein disease.
Sclerotherapy is typically done at your vein doctor’s office. It doesn’t require anesthesia, and the entire procedure takes less than an hour to complete. You may need multiple injections if more than one vein requires treatment.
You’ll be asked to lie down with your legs slightly elevated. Your doctor will clean the affected area and inject a chemical solution called a sclerosant into the vein through a fine needle.
The solution floods into the vein and irritates the vein walls. This causes the vein to collapse and shut, rerouting the blood flow into the surrounding healthy veins and restoring healthy blood circulation. Your doctor will massage the area to ensure the solution spreads through the vein. They will also apply compression so that blood doesn’t re-enter the treated vein. The vein will eventually disappear.
Soon after the procedure, you’ll be able to walk around. You can also resume daily activities on the same day as the procedure. You’ll notice darkened or bruised spider veins after sclerotherapy, but they will fade and disappear in a few weeks. Larger veins may take some months to go away completely.
You’ll have to visit your vein doctor for a follow-up to check if the procedure was successful. If you need further treatment, you’ll typically be asked to wait for four to six weeks before the next session.
These post-sclerotherapy instructions are essential for aftercare and early recovery:
- Walk and move your legs.
- Wear gradient compression stockings for two weeks after sclerotherapy.
- Avoid exposing the treated area to direct sunlight for at least a month after treatment. Direct sunlight can cause inflammation. It can dilate the treated veins and affect blood circulation. Use sun protection or cover the treated area.
- Don’t remove the bandages or dressings until your vein specialist tells you to.
- Resume all activities but avoid strenuous exercise for a week after the procedure.
- Avoid saunas and hot tubs for at least two weeks after treatment as it can dilate the closed veins and affect blood flow.
- You may experience some pain or discomfort. Over-the-counter pain medication such as Tylenol can help manage the pain.
Here are some FAQs related to sclerotherapy recovery:
Can I shower after the procedure?
After your sclerotherapy, you can take a shower normally. While it is recommended to avoid hot tubs and saunas for at least two weeks after sclerotherapy to prevent the recently closed vein from dilating under the heat, showering will not typically cause any harm. If you are still concerned about showering, you can keep your leg out of the hot water stream.
How should I sleep after sclerotherapy?
- Try to sleep wearing gradient compression stockings for the first few days. You can also continue to wear them after.
- Don’t raise your legs above your heart level, as it can decrease the blood flow to your feet and cause foot pain.
- If you feel foot pain, remove the gradient compression stockings and elevate your leg on pillows.
Can I drink alcohol after sclerotherapy?
Some vein specialists advise against drinking alcohol or alcoholic beverages for two days before and after your treatment. Alcohol acts as a blood thinner, and it can affect your blood flow and prevent quick recovery.
What is the sclerotherapy recovery time?
It takes two weeks to a few months for your veins to completely heal after the procedure. However, you can get back to your routine activities immediately after the procedure.
Is sclerotherapy painful?
The procedure is almost painless. You may feel a slight sting during the injection, but this will last only for a few seconds. Most people undergo sclerotherapy without any local numbing cream.
What are the side effects of sclerotherapy?
Like any other medical procedure, sclerotherapy can have some side effects. You may notice skin pigmentation in the treated area. This can occur due to bruising and usually disappears on its own. It can be prevented by wearing gradient compression stockings and avoiding exposure to sunlight.
You may also experience pain, discomfort, or bruising at the treatment site. These side effects go away after a week or two, and you can take pain medication to relieve these symptoms.
If they persist, talk to your doctor so they can help you better.
Does insurance cover sclerotherapy?
Insurance companies don’t cover spider vein treatments like sclerotherapy as they are considered cosmetic procedures.
Consult a Vein Specialist
If you’re seeking spider vein removal, you need to visit a vein specialist and get a consultation so they can recommend the right treatment for you. If they deem that sclerotherapy is the appropriate procedure, you’ll have to follow the necessary steps during and after the procedure.
My Vein Treatment is here to help you find a vein specialist near you. Our Vein Specialist Locator Tool can help you find qualified vein doctors in your locality. Visit a vein specialist of your choice for your vein problems. They’ll provide the best solution and aid you in your journey toward spider-vein-free living.