Spider veins are a web of red or blue veins. Like varicose veins, they are dilated superficial blood vessels, but they are smaller and nearer the skin’s surface. While they can appear anywhere on the body, they are most likely to appear behind the knee.
Spider veins are caused by increased pressure on the veins, and they are more common in older people. A tendency to spider veins runs in families, and they are most common in people whose jobs require standing for long periods, such as nurses or teachers.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for spider veins. During the procedure, a solution is injected into the vein that stops blood flow by making the vein collapse. After a few weeks, the vein becomes a scar and fades as the surrounding tissue reabsorbs it. The blood is then rerouted through healthier veins. Most patients see a 50 to 90% improvement after undergoing sclerotherapy.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
Sclerotherapy does not require anesthesia and can typically take an hour. The patient will lie on their back with their legs slightly raised. The doctor will clean the treatment area with alcohol and then inject a solution into the desired vein with a fine needle. The solution, typically a liquid, works by irritating the vein’s lining and causes it to swell shut, thus blocking blood flow.
Some doctors may use a foam instead of a liquid, particularly if the targeted vein is relatively large. Foam covers a bigger area than liquid usually does.
After the procedure, the patient continues to rest on their back for another 15 or 20 minutes. The doctor will check the injection site for any immediate side effects.
The patient should probably have somebody drive them home, but they should be able to resume most other activities. They should, however, avoid strenuous exercise for a week or more. They should also avoid exposing the treated area to the sun.
How Should the Patient Prepare?
The doctor may require the patient to stop taking certain medications some time before the procedure to avoid complications. The patient should not shave their legs or apply any lotion to their legs 24 hours before the procedure. They should wear loose and comfortable clothing to their appointment and may even want to wear shorts so their legs are conveniently exposed.
If you’re suffering from spider veins, contact South Lake OBGYN today to schedule your consultation.