Do you have some visible veins that you would like to treat? At DermaNuva Skin and Health Care in Olds, Alberta, we offer sclerotherapy, a treatment that uses injections to get rid of vascular lesions. With correct aftercare, almost all patients are vein-free a few months after their appointment. Wearing compression stockings for two weeks after this treatment will help ensure you get the best results.
Sleeping in Compression Stockings
After your treatment, we will give you a special pair of compression stockings. Wearing them is very important because it helps your veins recede correctly. The length of time you need to wear them will vary depending on your condition, how many veins were treated, and how big they were. In general, longer is better. Patients usually need to wear the stockings for one to two weeks.
You will be instructed to sleep in your compression stockings for the first night and possibly a few nights after. Following this initial period, you only need to use them during the day. The stockings will help you make sure this treatment works.
So, what is sclerotherapy and how does it get rid of varicose veins? Why do we get vascular lesions to begin with? Read on for all the essential information.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
This treatment is an effective, nonsurgical way to get rid of certain vascular lesions, including varicose veins and spider veins. It is performed in our office, where we treat each problem area individually. The process involves the use of a very fine needle to inject a salt solution into the veins. This solution safely causes them to collapse and be reabsorbed by your body, leaving clear skin.
About Vascular Lesions
What Are They?
Vascular lesions are abnormalities of the veins that become visible through the skin. They can be acquired at birth or over the course of your life. By age 80, about 80% of women have vascular lesions. The good news is that they are highly treatable. We use sclerotherapy to address two of the most common types of vascular lesions: varicose veins and spider veins.
Varicose veins appear near the surface of your skin. They can appear large, twisted, and dark in color. They happen when a vein becomes damaged and pools with blood. This can occur more commonly than you might think because our veins only transmit blood in one direction. The condition is especially problematic in the legs, where blood can accumulate over long periods of sitting or standing. However, varicose veins can occur anywhere in the body.
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are smaller and often appear in clusters that resemble a spider’s web.
What Causes Them?
Visible veins appear when the valves that conduct blood through them are damaged. When this happens, blood pools in the veins, causing them to swell and show through the surface of your skin. Usually, this is caused by pressure on the valves, especially from excessive sitting or standing. The pressure stretches the valves and weakens them, compromising their ability to conduct blood through your veins in a normal way.
Do They Go Away on Their Own?
Once varicose veins and spider veins appear, they stick around until you do something about them.
What Factors Increase the Risk of Developing Visible Veins?
There are several different factors that can make you more likely to get varicose and spider veins. They include:
- Hormonal changes
- Jobs that require a lot of sitting or standing
- Birth control pills
- Inactive lifestyle
- Injuries to the legs
In general, women are more likely to get this condition than men. Visible veins tend to show up after the age of 30. Some people are born with weaker valves than others, making them more susceptible to this condition.
Are They Dangerous?
Varicose and spider veins are not usually considered a serious condition, but they can worsen over time, causing discomfort. Symptoms include:
- Leg sores
- Itching, burning or aching sensation
In severe situations, you might experience significant swelling and sores that do not heal. In rare cases, dangerous blood clots can occur.
Everything You Need to Know About Sclerotherapy
How Does It Work?
This treatment delivers a saline (salt) solution into your visible veins through individual injections. The number of injections you receive will depend on the severity of your condition and how many areas you want to treat. The solution causes the veins to collapse. When that happens, the blood flow is redirected into the surrounding, healthy veins. The damaged ones are reabsorbed into your body harmlessly, disappearing from the surface of your skin.
What Are the Goals of This Treatment?
This treatment will help the appearance of your veins, providing cosmetic improvement. It will also relieve some of the discomfort associated with damaged veins, including sores and night cramps.
How Long Does the Appointment Take?
The treatment itself is very fast. In most cases, the injections only take 15 to 30 minutes. The exact time depends on each patient.
When Will the Results Appear?
The timeline varies from person to person. For spider veins, you can expect the results to start appearing within three to six weeks. Larger varicose veins might take three or four months to go away.
How Many Sessions Are Needed?
Many patients get their full results from one session, but other people can benefit from several rounds of injections. Following your initial appointment, we can schedule a follow-up to check on your progress and see if another session is needed. If you need more than one, we will leave six weeks in between each session. With perseverance, most patients see their visible veins go away completely after three separate appointments.
Will the Veins Come Back?
Once the veins are absorbed by your body, they will not reappear. However, new ones can form. You can make some lifestyle changes that will help prevent this from happening. By exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet, you can control your weight, strengthen your veins, and optimize your circulation. This will help prevent too much pressure from accumulating on the valves.
Other measures to take include:
- Wearing compression stockings
- Not crossing your legs while sitting
- Avoiding long periods of sitting or standing
Even with all the right measures, you might see some new veins appear over the course of your life. It is a normal part of the aging process. When this happens, we can schedule you for another session.
How Is This Condition Diagnosed?
To determine if you can benefit from this treatment, we will take a look at your skin and gather your medical history. We might also perform a duplex ultrasound to check the blood flow in your veins. This test uses two ultrasound devices to thoroughly examine the affected areas.
Who Is a Good Candidate for This Treatment?
Good candidates for this treatment include generally healthy adults who do not have a history of blood clots. You should not start this treatment if you are pregnant. Some people have allergic reactions to sclerosing agents, and they are not good candidates. Most people who choose this treatment are between the ages of 30 and 60.
The best candidates for this treatment have moderate varicose or spider veins. If your veins are smaller and less severe, you might benefit from laser therapy instead. This treatment uses energy wavelengths to target the veins beneath the surface of your skin. While it’s an excellent solution in mild cases, sclerotherapy is more effective on larger, more prominent veins. In very severe cases, surgical solutions can work, however, they are not necessary for most patients.
How Is the Treatment Administered?
The process of administering these injections is pretty straightforward. You will be asked to lie with your legs in an elevated position. We will cleanse your skin and administer the solution with a very fine needle. Usually, the saline solution is in liquid form. For very large veins, we can use a foam solution to cover a larger area. It includes lidocaine to minimize discomfort.
After the injections are performed, we will massage the area to disperse the solution correctly. The pressure of the massage helps keep blood from flowing back into the treated vein. If multiple veins need to be treated, we will also apply a compression pad between each one.
Is There Down Time Involved?
There is no set downtime associated with this treatment, and you can resume most of your normal activities right away. Most patients like to have someone drive them home after their injections. Once we finish the treatment, you can get up and walk around immediately. In fact, keeping your legs mobile will help with your circulation.
What Is the Aftercare?
You can ensure the success of your treatment by taking some simple steps to optimize your results after you leave our practice. Most of the aftercare is aimed at preventing blood from flowing back into the treated veins and displacing the solution before it has a chance to do its job. We will provide you with detailed instructions regarding what you should do. Here are some of the general guidelines:
Avoid Hot Water
You should avoid saunas, whirlpools, and very hot showers. The heat can cause your veins to expand, reducing the effectiveness of the treatment.
Stay Active: But No Intense Workouts
For two to three days following your treatment, restrain from lifting weights and performing other strenuous exercises completely. After this short period, you can resume jogging and other light forms of activity. You can go back to your normal workout routine after two weeks.
Keep the Compression Pads in Place
Before you leave our office, we will dress your treated veins with special compression pads. They help your body get the full benefits of the treatment. You should leave them in place for 48 hours, after which you can remove them.
One of the most important parts of the aftercare regimen is wearing special compression stockings. They are specifically designed to ensure that you get the best results, and we provide them as part of your treatment.
Wearing Compression Stockings After Sclerotherapy
Why Are They Important?
Compression stockings have been used for a long time to help improve circulation in the legs. After this treatment, they maintain compression on your veins, allowing them to maintain contact with the solution and ultimately recede.
How Long Do They Need to Be Worn?
The recommended amount of time varies from person to person. It is usually one to two weeks. We suggest that you use them for a longer period rather than a shorter one to ensure the best results. During this time, be sure to use them throughout the entire day. You should take special care to wear them when you need to stand or sit for a long period.
If you want, you can continue to wear your stockings after the results of your treatment set in. You could even keep them for special situations when you know you will need to spend a lot of time on your feet or in a chair. By incorporating them into a routine that includes a healthy diet and moderate exercise, you can make a big difference in the appearance of your veins going forward.
Do They Need to be Worn at Night?
For the first few days after your treatment, make sure that you wear your stockings at night. After this initial period, you can sleep without them. Just put them on in the morning when you start your day.
The Benefits of Sclerotherapy
Visible veins are a tough condition to treat, and it’s almost impossible to get results from at-home remedies. This treatment offers a solution. It is a proven way to get rid of varicose and spider veins. You are in control of ensuring your best results: just be sure to wear your compression stockings for the recommended amount of time.
It Helps You Look Your Best
If you don’t want varicose or spider veins to be part of your appearance, this treatment can get them out of the picture.
It Relieves Discomfort
Unlike some conditions that are purely aesthetic, visible veins can be uncomfortable. In addition to having cosmetic benefits, this treatment can help with itching, aching, and sores.
Schedule a Consultation
If you would like to learn more about this treatment, come in for a consultation. We can examine your visible veins and let you know if you are a good candidate. While you are in the office, we will show you around and answer all of your questions in person. We look forward to meeting you.
Say Goodbye to Visible Veins
While visible veins won’t go away on their own, you don’t have to live with them forever. By choosing sclerotherapy and wearing compression stockings after your treatment, you can get rid of them, permanently. You will love the look of your vein-free legs.
To learn more about this treatment, contact us at DermaNuva Skin and Health Care in Olds, Alberta. We would love to help you say goodbye to visible veins with this highly effective option.