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Common Treatments for Spider Veins: Sclerotherapy

Common Treatments for Spider Veins: Sclerotherapy

Posted on August 29, 2013 by Dr. Stephen Rivard

spider_veins-1.jpgTelangiectasias, more commonly referred to as Spider Veins, are small blue and purple veins that appear near the surface of one's skin. They generally appear on the face around the nose, and on the legs near or around the knee, upper thigh and ankles. Common causes of spider veins are family history, trauma due to sport related injuries, pregnancy and the release of hormones such as estrogen and progesterone, and prolonged periods of standing.   

Sclerotherapy: A General Overview 

One of the most common spider vein removal procedures performed by a venous and lymphatic physicians is known as Sclerotherapy. This treatment involves the use of a very small needle to inject a medication known as a sclerosant into the diseased veins. This sclerosant irritates the lining of the vein walls, causing them to shrink and gradually disappear by dissolving into the blood stream.

The needles that are used are particularly small and feel something like a mosquito bite, which most find relatively painless. Some of the most commonly used sclerosants include Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate and Polidocanol.  Both have been approved by the FDA for their use in the treatment of spider veins via sclerotherapy. One advantage of using these forms of medications is their ability to be diluted to a variety of concentrations and foams which allow venous and lymphatic physicians to make adjustments to their strength and concentration depending on the size of the vein being treated.

It is rare that patients show signs of allergic reaction even if they have an allergy to sulfa antibiotics, but depending on the concentration being applied, patients may feel a slight stinging sensation in the area being treated. Because of its detergent nature, these medications can be mixed with air in order to create a foam-like solution. The foam sclerosant creates a more potent solution and is often used for treating larger veins. Moreover, creating a foam like substance actually decreases the amount of medication needed.  Because of its nature, when the sclerosant is injected into the veins using a foam solution, it often takes longer to dilute and thus is able to irritate the vein wall more effectively and veins close more quickly and easily than non-foam solutions.  

Ultrasound Guided and Visual Sclerotherapy


In addition to the improvements of sclerosants available, technological advancements have continued to enhance the ability of physicians to commonly and effectively treat varicose and spider veins. Probably one of the most important of these advancements was the introduction of the Doppler Duplex ultrasound.

The ultrasound imaging performed by certified venous and lymphatic physicians via Doppler Duplex ultrasound allows them to visualize the veins during the procedure and preciscely treat nearly any vein on any part of the body, including spider veins on the face and even the breast and hands.

By watching the ultrasound, the vein specialists can see and ensure that the needle is properly inserted into the diseased vein and then monitor the vein's reaction to the sclerosant during the treatment of your spider veins.

Another form of equipment that is used is referred to as a Vein Light, which is placed over the surface of the skin while a doctor performs Visual Sclerotherapy. Both Visual and Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy are often performed as simple outpatient procedures in an office setting without any anesthesia. Following sclerotherapy treatments, the doctor will recommend that you wear compression stockings in order to reduce potential swelling.  It is important to take frequent walks after your treatment to promote circulation and bloodflow.  

Although the veins treated with sclerotherapy are destroyed and reabsorbed into the skin by the body, it will not prevent your body from forming new spider veins.  However, since it is a simple and relatively quick procedure to perform, most patient's do not mind having the treatment repeated in the future whenever spider veins reoccur.



At Illinois Vein Specialists, we understand that seeking proper care is just as important to you as it is for us.  That is why we focus only on treating varicose and spider veins and provide the most advanced and effective treatments available today.  We treat patients from Buffalo Grove, Cary, Elgin, Algonquin, Palatine, Vernon Hills, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates, Lake Zurich, Fox River Grove, Mundelein, Grayslake, Wauconda, Glenview, Northbrook, Chicago, and all areas of Barrington, Illinois. 

We understand that when you choose a doctor you want to go to someone you know, like and trust, and honestly so do we. We know that patients come to us most often from satisfied patient referrals, but we encourage you to do your own homework and ask around. In the end no matter where you live or who you decide to have treat your varicose or spider veins find someone who focuses only on diagnosing and treating varicose and spider veins -- find a Board Certified Venous and Lymphatic Doctor.



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Tagged venous hypertension, spider veins, telangiectasia, treatment, spider veins on legs, foam sclerotherapy, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, common treatments for spider veins, sclerotherapy, sclerosant