Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to eliminate unsightly spider veins. Spider veins are small, damaged veins that can appear on the surface of the legs or face. They are usually not painful or harmful, but some people may wish to treat them for cosmetic reasons. Spider veins can be blue, purple, or red and may appear in the form of thin lines, webs, or branches, hence the name ‘spider’ veins.  

Having spider or varicose veins can affect more than your appearance. These veins can cause serious discomfort. Some varicose veins put you at risk for a complication like a blood clot or open sores on your legs. Minimally invasive treatment can get rid of or fade leg veins. Treatment can also diminish symptoms like pain and fatigue and prevent complications. 

Why we get visible leg veins 

Varicose and spider veins are damaged veins. We develop them when tiny, one-way valves inside the veins weaken. In healthy veins, these valves push blood in one direction – back to our heart. When these valves weaken, some blood flows backward and accumulates in the vein. Extra blood in the vein puts pressure on the walls of the vein. With continual pressure, the vein walls weaken and bulge. In time, we see a varicose or spider vein. 

Some people have a higher risk of developing these veins. If blood relatives have them, you have a higher risk. Many people get them because they sit or stand for long periods most days of the week. These veins also become more common with age and during pregnancy. Spider veins can also be caused by sunlight, hormonal changes, or an injury. 

Your consultation with Dr. Hashemi 

When you consult with board-certified dermatologist Dr. Pantea Hashemi, she will create a personalized treatment plan geared to your needs. Treatment is determined by your general health, and the size, position and severity of your spider veins. 

Dr. Hashemi typically recommends lifestyle changes, and compression therapy as a conservative approach to prevent worsening of the condition and prevent formation of additional spider veins. However, to completely remove unsightly spider veins, Sclerotherapy is the gold standard in cosmetic vein treatment. 

Sclerotherapy 

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive and effective treatment to eliminate spider veins and varicose veins. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a solution into the vein which causes the vein to collapse and disappear. The most commonly used solutions are hypertonic saline and polidocanol. The injected solution works by irritating the lining of the veins, causing them to collapse, stick together and clot, thereby destroying the vein. Don’t worry, these veins are completely cosmetic and have no effect on the health of your bodies vascular system. The injections are safe and effective. Within weeks you can expect the appearance of your veins to fade. 

Laser  

In addition to Sclerotherapy, Dr. Hashemi may recommend treatment using Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy. The energy produced by the IPL device is selectively absorbed by the pigment, hemoglobin in the vein. Upon impact with the target area the light energy breaks up the unwanted spider vein.  

Compression Therapy 

When you walk, your calf muscles contract and relax to assist in moving the blood toward the heart. Compression stockings aid the calf muscles to work more efficiently, and compress spider veins and varicose veins to improve valve function, reduce backward flow of blood, and reduce swelling. Compression therapy is designed to squeeze veins so that the valves close, to help restore normal blood flow and improve overall circulation. This will help improve symptoms and prevent worsening of existing spider and varicose veins. They also slow down the development of new spider and varicose veins. Compression therapy offers the easiest way to find pain relief and protect against recurrence. 

Lifestyle Changes 

Dr. Pantea Hashemi is board-certified in dermatology. To be board certified, one must meet strict criteria, pass extensive examination and demonstrate an expert knowledge of their subject. In addition to Dr. Hashemi’s expertise, she has assembled a caring and compassionate staff. If you are concerned about unsightly veins, contact her at University Skin Institute in Sacramento for a consultation.