Sclerotherapy treatment to correct spider and varicose veins in Franklin, TN
Sclerotherapy is a simple and effective procedure available from CoolSprings Laser, Aesthetic & Skin Care Center in Franklin, TN that can help you love your legs again! It is a tried and true technique for eliminating spider and varicose veins without surgery. The sclerotherapy procedure consists of a few gentle injections, with minimal side effects or downtime.
What are spider and varicose veins?
You have about 100,000 miles of blood vessels in your body, many of which are very near the skin’s surface. Thankfully, most of them are hidden from sight. Why are a few particularly problematic ones visible, dark colored, sometimes even bulging? The answer is that these veins are not healthy, and they are not functioning properly.
Blood moves through the circulatory system in a continuous “looping” flow. That means, it only moves one direction. Veins in the legs must carry blood upward, against the gravitational pull. The process is assisted by muscles, because the contraction and relaxation of normal leg movement massages veins, pushing blood upward. Meanwhile, one-way valves prevent backflow.
Leg veins are quite efficient when healthy. They are also small enough that we don’t see them through the skin. However, a damaged valve can allow blood to pool, stretching the vascular walls. If it is near the surface, the swollen vessel may become visible, possibly even bulging above the natural skin surface.
Depending on the size and type of vein, these damaged vessels may be called:
- Spider veins – These are the smallest vessels, and nearest to the surface. They might appear as fine lines or streaks on the skin, often intersecting to create a pattern resembling a tree trunk or spider web.
- Varicose veins – These veins are much larger, sometimes bulging or twisted. They are most often found on the legs and feet.
- Reticular veins – A bit smaller than varicose veins but larger than spider veins, these typically have a bluish color. They may feed into varicose veins.
Causes and risk factors
What makes these veins malfunction in the first place? There are many possible answers, and it is often a combination of factors. These include:
- Family history – You may have inherited your spider or varicose veins.
- Occupation and lifestyle – Because muscle movement plays a role in leg circulation, regular exercise throughout the day is important. Frequent, extended periods of uninterrupted sitting or standing creates excess pressure in veins, potentially damaging the valve.
- Hormones – Changes or imbalances in certain hormones may contribute to weakening of the vascular walls, causing them to swell and separate from valves.
- Vascular disease – Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that prevents valves from functioning correctly. Individuals with CVI are at risk of spider and varicose veins, as well as other serious complications such as blood clots.
- Obesity – Extra weight adds pressure and increases the workload for veins, especially those in the legs. Over time, this can damage vascular lining and valves, particularly in individuals with a family history of vein disease or other risk factors.
- Pregnancy – Hormonal changes, the strain of additional weight, increased blood volume, and many other factors make expectant mothers especially susceptible to developing varicose veins.
Is sclerotherapy the right choice for you?
Once a vessel is diseased or damaged to the point that it becomes visible, it has already stopped function properly. In addition to cosmetic concerns, these problematic veins can cause itching, cramping, leg fatigue, and other symptoms. Fortunately, there are several effective options for removing them. The best procedure will depend on the size and location of the vein, as well as your medical history and suitability for each procedure.
- Sclerotherapy is an injection-based procedure that eliminates diseased veins, without surgery. It has long been considered the gold standard treatment for spider veins in the legs and ankles, reticular veins, and small to midsized varicose veins.
- Surgical removal may be necessary for especially large, twisted varicose veins, though this is rare. An examination is needed in order to determine if sclerotherapy is a good option, or if surgery would be better.
- Laser or IPL treatment is usually recommended for spider veins, broken capillaries, and other vascular concerns in the facial area.
What to expect – the sclerotherapy procedure and recovery
The sclerotherapy procedure consists of only a few small injections with sclerosing solution. The formula acts as an irritant to the lining of the vascular walls, eventually causing them to collapse, thereby sealing off the vessel. It does not travel to other veins, so healthy vessels will not be impacted. If you have multiple spider or varicose veins, the formula will be injected into each of them.
There are several options, and we will recommend the best one for you based on your needs. These include:
- Traditional sclerotherapy – Older sclerosants were highly effective, but they were also known to be quite uncomfortable. Today, the formulations are much better, but the tried and true technique remains the same. Traditional sclerosants act directly on the lining of veins.
- Foam sclerotherapy – This is a newer technique, but also has an excellent record of safety and effectiveness. These sclerosants do not rely on a reaction from the inner vascular walls. Instead, the foam expands to directly block the problematic vessels, effectively sealing them.
The appointment takes just minutes, with minimal side effects. New sclerosant formulas are gentle and effective, making them less likely to cause cramping. You will be able to resume most activities right away with little to no downtime. In fact, walking and light exercise is extremely beneficial in hastening healing and minimizing the risk of complications. However, you will need to use extra caution to avoid sun exposure and wear a compression garment for about a week.
Once the vein is sealed, your body begins to break down and eliminate the tissue. As the process occurs, the vein becomes lighter in color. It continues to fade over several weeks or months after treatment, until it is no longer visible. The results are permanent, meaning that a successfully treated vein will not return. However, if you have a history of varicose or spider veins, new ones are likely to develop in the future. If that occurs, they can be treated with additional sclerotherapy sessions.