Spider veins and varicose veins are unfortunately a common problem that many people today face, especially as they get older. These pronounced and darkened veins can show through the skin, causing you to feel self-conscious and embarrassed. In some cases, they may even cause you physical discomfort and pain. If you are dealing with this problem and are searching for a way to get rid of these veins, Sclerotherapy is a perfect solution. This is just one of the non-invasive treatments we offer here at Nowak Aesthetics in Chula Vista, CA.
Varicose and Spider Veins: What You Need to Know
Varicose veins or spider veins may seem to appear suddenly, often causing people to wonder where they came from. Knowing how these veins develop and what factors may cause them can help to decide if the sclerosant injection is a good solution for you.
How Varicose and Spider Veins Are Formed
Varicose veins are caused by damaged or weak vein valves and walls. All veins have one-way valves inside that open and close to maintain a steady flow of blood toward the heart. However, when the walls or valves of the veins are weakened or damaged, this can cause blood to pool inside and even flow backward into the vein. This condition is called reflux.
As a result of reflux, the veins may grow larger than normal and gradually become distorted, resulting in varicose veins. When the veins grow larger and become bulged, they can often branch out where they connect. A network of smaller veins often connect to a main trunk of veins, and when a bulge occurs at this trunk, then these smaller branches also become distorted. This is what causes spider veins to appear. These are often smaller, flatter, and less painful than varicose veins.
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
Though varicose veins are commonly diagnosed by their bulging and bluish appearance, there are other signs and symptoms that can indicate that you are developing or have developed this condition. These include aching pain, swelling, itching, heaviness in the feet and legs, leg cramps at night, changes in skin color, and even bleeding.
Where Varicose Veins Can Appear
Because veins run throughout your entire body, varicose and spider veins can really appear anywhere. Some of the most common areas include the legs, calves, thighs, ankles, feet, face, and even the anus.
Factors that Cause Varicose and Spider Veins
There are several conditions that can cause one to develop varicose and spider veins. Some of these factors include aging, sitting or standing for long periods of time, obesity, genetics, pregnancy and/or multiple childbirths, hormonal treatments and/or birth control, previous blood clots/vein damage, sun damage, and excessive pressure on the face.
The veins naturally weaken as we age. This weakening can affect the blood flow and function of the veins. The calf muscles, which play a large role in pumping blood from the lower body to the heart and supporting the veins, also tend to become weaker with age.
Excessive Sitting or Standing
When you sit or stand for long periods of time repeatedly, you can cut off circulation or put undue pressure on your veins. This causes the veins to work harder to pump blood through the legs, which can cause them to weaken faster than normal and lead to varicose veins.
Extra body weight can put added pressure on the veins, weakening and even damaging them over time.
Research shows that up to 90% of people who suffer from varicose veins have a family history of them.
During pregnancy, a woman has to endure the extra weight of the fetus, weight gain, and increased blood flow throughout the body. This places more pressure on the veins in the leg during pregnancy, which can lead to spider veins.
Hormonal Treatments/Birth Control
Because estrogen can weaken the vein valves, hormonal treatments for menopause and hormonal birth control can increase the risk of spider veins.
Previous Blood Clots/Vein Damage
Blood clots and vein damage can damage the vein valves, causing them not to work properly. This leads to reflux, which causes varicose veins.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun can actually damage the skin and cause spider veins or broken blood vessels. This occurs most commonly on the face.
Excessive Pressure on the Face
Forceful sneezing, vomiting, or coughing can put excessive pressure on the face, causing blood vessels to burst and form spider veins. Some women may also get spider veins on their face from pushing during childbirth.
How Varicose Veins Are Diagnosed
In order to diagnose varicose veins, the doctor may use a combination of a physical exam, x-rays, and ultrasound techniques depending on the severity of your condition.
?Sclerotherapy: The Solution to Varicose Veins
Though there are many treatments that you can get to remedy your varicose veins, sclerotherapy is an excellent minimally invasive, effective option that will provide a satisfactory solution.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment that treats varicose veins and spider veins. It involves injecting chemicals, known as sclerosing agents, into damaged veins to diminish their appearance, side effects, and pain.?
How It Works
This treatment uses a liquid or foam solution called sclerosant, which is typically made up of sodium tetradecyl sulfate, hypertonic saline, chromated glycerin, and polidocanol. The doctor will inject this solution directly into a lymph vessel or a vein. It irritates the vessel or vein, which causes it to swell and seal shut.
The swelling cuts off the flow of lymphatic fluid or blood to the vessel, redirecting it to unaffected veins. The body will then absorb the damaged vein over time, causing it to shrink so that it is less visible and more comfortable. This may take up to four treatment sessions.
Other Conditions Treated
This injection can be used to treat other conditions besides varicose and spider veins. These include malformed lymph vessels, hemorrhoids, and hydroceles.
What Are the Benefits of Sclerotherapy?
This treatment offers several benefits, both cosmetically and medically. That is why it is one of the most popular choices to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. Patients love that it is safe, convenient, and affordable. The results of lessened pain, improved leg appearance, and increased self-confidence are also even greater added benefits.
This treatment is minimally invasive because it is an injection, which eliminates any need to cut or remove skin or tissue for surgery. It can be done easily with almost no chance of negative side effects. Furthermore, the most commonly used sclerosant agents are FDA-approved.
Each treatment session is very short; it typically only takes 15-60 minutes depending on the severity of your varicose veins. Results are typically seen within four treatments, so you won’t have to return over and over again. Because of the nature of the injection, no hospitalization or overnight stays are required; in fact, patients can be dismissed and resume their daily activities immediately after treatment.
Because there is no hospitalization or inpatient care needed, this treatment is very affordable with a small cost for each injection session.
Because the injection addresses the root cause of varicose veins, then it will provide relief from the symptoms that come with it. This means that you will not have to deal with discomfort and aching in your legs any longer.
Improved Leg Appearance
One of the best benefits of this treatment is the improvement in how your legs look. You will not have to see bulging discolored veins every time you look at your legs in the mirror; instead, your legs will have a smooth, healthy appearance.
Many people feel self-conscious wearing dresses, skirts, or shorts that expose their legs when they have varicose veins. With this treatment and the disappearance of the veins, you will be able to wear the clothes you like again with confidence.
Who Qualifies as a Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
If you are interested in having this treatment performed for your varicose veins, it is important to know if you qualify as a candidate. This will ensure that the treatment is effective and safe for you personally.
Who Does Qualify?
A candidate for treatment must be relatively healthy, which will be determined at the consult.
Any healthy adult with venous insufficiency who has a disease that is poorly controlled with compression stockings and who is not obese is an ideal candidate for this treatment.
A healthy adult who complains of superficial veins that are 4mm or less in caliber is also a great candidate.
Who Does Not Qualify?
A person who may not qualify for treatment may have:
- A history of thrombophlebitis (vein inflammation)
- Pregnancy within the previous six months
- Blood clots in the legs
- Leg ulcers
- Arterial/vascular issues
- Prior radical mastectomy
- A history of significant trauma to the arms, hands, or chest
- A dialysis shunt
Though these conditions may exclude you from being a candidate, every situation is different. That is why it is important that you have a one-on-one consult with the doctor to discuss your personal health condition to determine if you are a candidate.
The Sclerotherapy Process: What You Should Expect
Once you are determined as a candidate and decide to move forward with treatment, there are a few steps you should take to prepare yourself for treatment. There are also precautions to be followed after treatment for your safety and optimal results.
You will first need to set up a consult with the doctor to determine if you are a candidate. During this appointment, you will discuss all past and existing medical conditions, any medications and supplements you take, your allergies, and any previous treatments for varicose veins. It is important to give the doctor all the necessary information for your personal safety.
If your health history does not exclude you from treatment, the doctor will then perform a physical exam to identify the site of the defective vein and the venous drainage pattern. If necessary, the doctor will also take x-rays and an ultrasound to aid in the identification of the site. If your condition can be treated, the doctor will then go over the treatment process, pre- and post-treatment instructions, and answer any questions you may have.
There are several instructions you need to follow before treatment to make sure it is successful. The doctor will recommend that you purchase compression stockings to bring with you to each visit, as you will need them after treatment. These should typically be of medium compression and cover the treatment area. You will also want to bring comfortable shorts to wear during the treatment and a long skirt or loose-fitting pants to wear home.
The doctor may instruct you to avoid taking Vitamin E, blood thinners, and NSAIDs like Advil, aspirin, and Motrin for at least one week before treatment. You also want to refrain from shaving and from using lotions and moisturizers on the day of treatment.
During treatment, you will lie on your back with your legs elevated slightly. The doctor will cleanse the treatment area with alcohol and then use a fine needle to inject the sclerosant into the larger veins and then the smaller veins.
When the injection is complete, the doctor will withdraw the needle and apply compression and massage the area to disperse the solution and keep blood from re-entering the vein. He or she may tape a compression pad onto the injection site so the area will remain compressed before moving on to the next vein.
?Once treatment is complete, the doctor may instruct you to wear compression stockings or socks for the next couple of days. If tape or gauze were applied, then you can replace them with your stockings or socks 4-6 hours after treatment. These should only be removed to shower and should be worn during the day and the first night after treatment. After the first night, they can be removed to sleep.
You can use acetaminophen-based medicine like Tylenol if needed, but avoid anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin for one week as these can affect the blood clotting process. You also want to avoid sunlight, beaches, swimming pools, saunas, and hot baths for the first two days after treatment. If you are exposed to the sun, be sure to apply plenty of sunscreen SPF 30 or greater.
It is recommended that you stay active with leisurely activities like walking so you don’t form blood clots. However, avoid intense aerobic exercises like weight lifting and running for at least two days up to one week after treatment. If your varicose veins were more severe, you may need follow-up treatment as advised by your doctor.
Get Rid of Varicose and Spider Veins Now
Here at Nowack Aesthetics, we know how important it is to you to feel confident and comfortable in your own skin. It is our goal to help you reach that aim by providing you with the best treatment to get rid of your varicose or spider veins. If you have any further questions about Sclerotherapy and want to see if you qualify as a candidate, contact Nowack Aesthetic for a consult at our clinic in Chula Vista, CA. We look forward to hearing from you.