As the weather gets warmer, clothing gets smaller. Shorts, skirts, and swimsuits are staples for late spring and summer. But if you’re embarrassed about the look of your legs due to spider veins, you might end up forgoing the seasonal fun and cover up in a pair of long pants or jeans, even as temperatures climb to almost 100 degrees.
If blue or red veins are keeping you from feeling your best in the summer, there are ways to treat them. Sclerotherapy is one minimally invasive, non-surgical option. Depending on the size and extent of your vein trouble, it might be right choice for you.
Sclerotherapy is a very simple procedure. It doesn’t require sedation or anesthesia. Depending on how many spider veins you have and how large the veins are, you might only need a single treatment that takes less than one hour.
During treatment, the doctor injects a solution into the veins. The solution irritates the inside of the vein so that it seals itself off. Blood then flows to other veins. The injected vein eventually collapses and is no longer visible just below your skin.
The surgeon typically uses a very fine needle to inject the solution. While the solution is often liquid, it might be foam if you have larger veins. After the injection, the surgeon will usually put pressure on the vein, so that the solution flows through the vein. You might be given a compression pad to wear to keep pressure on the treated areas.
Getting Ready for Treatment
You might need to make a few changes to your lifestyle before sclerotherapy. For example, if you smoke, you’ll be asked to stop smoking. It’s also usually recommended that you stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin, for about three days before the treatment.
Don’t shave your legs or put on lotion 24 hours before the treatment. You can wear what you want to the surgeon’s office, but it’s usually good idea to wear loose-fitting clothing. Shorts are ideal.
Downtime and Recovery
You’ll be able to get back to your life almost right away after your sclerotherapy treatment. Most patients can drive themselves back home or back to work, for example. Keep your legs out of the sun for the first few days after treatment. You should also avoid warm baths, hot compresses, and medicines such as aspirin.
Support hose or compression hose are typically recommended to help the veins collapse. You might need to be fitted for a pair of hose at the doctor’s office or at a medical supply store. Standard stockings or panythose don’t have enough compression to be effective after sclerotherapy.
Walking is often recommended after the treatment. Try to walk more than you would before treatment, but avoid running or other strenuous activities until the doctor says it’s OK.
Sclerotherapy isn’t your only treatment option for spider veins. Laser therapy for veins can also diminish the appearance of spider veins on your legs. Laser treatments can be performed on their own or along with sclerotherapy. Often, laser therapy works best on veins between 1 and 3 mm wide. You might need several treatment sessions before your veins are completely gone.
During treatment, the surgeon aims a beam of light at the veins. The heat and energy from the light beam, or laser, solidifies the blood in the vein. Eventually, the hardened blood destroys the vein and it collapses.
You should wear support hose after a laser treatment to put pressure on the veins. It can take a few months for the veins to completely vanish from view, but you can rest assured that you’ll be able to get back to your regular life almost right away.
There’s no reason to keep your legs hidden away this summer. Chernoff Cosmetic Surgery, with locations in Indianapolis, Beverly Hills, Newport Beach, and Santa Rosa, California, offers both laser treatment for veins and sclerotherapy. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Chernoff in the midwest by calling (317) 573-8899. Or if you’re on the west coast, you can call (707) 544-3232 for the Santa Rosa office or (800) 482-5499 for Newport Beach and Beverly Hills.