Spider veins are a series of visible veins that sometimes appear on a person's thighs and calves. These veins can be blue, purple, or red and sometimes look like someone drew on your legs with a marker. Spider veins won't go away on their own, and they aren't a cause for medical concern. If you're self-conscious about your spider veins and want to get rid of them, a dermatologist can help you with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a very effective spider vein treatment. Here are four things you can expect from this procedure.
1. Your dermatologist will perform an ultrasound on your legs.
Ultrasounds let your doctor observe soft tissue within your body, much like X-rays allow doctors to see your bones. Your dermatologist will perform an ultrasound on your legs to decide which veins to treat with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy permanently closes the targeted veins, so your doctor will want to ensure they do not perform the treatment on any vital veins.
2. Your dermatologist will clean and elevate your legs.
Since your skin will be punctured by hypodermic needles during sclerotherapy, your doctor will first cleanse the treatment area with an alcohol swab. You will be told to lie back, and your legs will be allowed to rest in an elevated position. This elevation makes it easier for your dermatologist to work. It also reduces blood flow to your legs, which can aid treatment.
3. Your dermatologist will inject a sclerosant solution into your spider veins.
Sclerotherapy works by permanently closing your spider veins. A sclerosant solution is injected into your visible veins using a thin hypodermic needle. You may feel a pinch as the doctor places the needle in your vein. Some treatment solutions include a topical anesthetic, which can make the procedure more comfortable. The sclerosant solution will cause the inside of your veins to scar, which blocks blood flow. Once blood no longer flows through your spider veins, they will no longer be visible. You will receive several injections during your treatment, which can take up to an hour.
4. Your dermatologist will advise you regarding aftercare.
After your procedure, you should see an immediate reduction in the number of spider veins in your legs. More veins will continue to disappear over time. Your dermatologist will give you some aftercare instructions to help the process along. They will likely advise you to walk around the office in order to discourage blood clot formation. You will also be told to wear compression stockings for a few weeks. Pressure will allow the sclerosant solution to continue doing its work.