It can be embarrassing to wear shorts or skirts with the obvious appearance of varicose veins or spider veins. But, through a medical procedure called sclerotherapy, varicose veins can be a thing of the past. If you are wondering whether sclerotherapy is a possibility for you, this is what you need to know.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
To begin with, let’s go over what varicose veins are. Varicose veins are large, bulging veins that are typically blue or a dark purple. They show up most commonly in the legs and feet, but they can appear anywhere. They are sometimes painful due to the swelling, but they mostly are just noticeable. While they can cause blood clots, it is unlikely for this to be dangerous.
Varicose veins happen when weak valves either allow blood to flow the wrong direction or allow it to pool, giving it a space to settle there. The blood is not flowing through the veins effectively and it leaves you with unsightly, noticeable veins. Pregnant women are more susceptible to varicose veins than others. Patients who are overweight also have a higher risk of developing varicose veins.
Likewise, spider veins occur when veins are weak and not pumping blood properly. These happen on a much smaller level, however. They make branches out, like spider’s legs, as the blood looks for other places to go once the vein is blocked off. These can happen anywhere on your body and are not painful.
The procedure is performed using a saline solution that is injected directly into the varicose vein. The salt inside of the solution will irritate the lining of your blood vessel and so the vein will collapse. The vein will then stick together and the blood around it will clot it closed. The blood that used to go through it will be naturally rerouted by your body.
It is a non-invasive outpatient procedure that can take care of many veins at the same time. In some cases, connecting capillaries will also be taken out by a single injection. Normally, the largest veins are treated first, but this procedure can also be performed on spider veins, which are smaller, but can be just as noticeable.
The results of the procedure should be noticeable within a few weeks as the veins begin to lose their colour and shrink down. In some cases, several appointments might be needed to completely get rid of all of the varicose and spider veins.
Who Can Have it Done?
Unfortunately, like all procedures, there are times when sclerotherapy is not recommended for certain patients. You will need to have an initial consultation with one of our doctors in order to know whether you qualify for this procedure.
Patients who are pregnant cannot have the procedure performed. Not only is it unsafe, but you could develop more varicose veins throughout pregnancy. Additionally, if you have a history of blood clots, you might be ineligible as well, but it depends on your specific situation. The general health of your skin and the area in question is the biggest factor when considering treatment as well as why you had a blood clot in the past.
Looking at the long term, following sclerotherapy, there are some things that you should know. The first thing is that the results are not going to be instant, but will be noticeable over time as the veins collapse down and the blood is cleaned out. It is also important to remember that depending on the severity of your case, several appointments might be needed in order to achieve the desired results.
There is also a risk of reoccurrence with varicose veins, but it is less likely if they appeared during pregnancy. They show up because of the new weight on your legs as well as the circulation changes that expectant mothers go through. If you have varicose veins due to a weight concern, there is a better chance of them reappearing as time goes on. It is better to get on a path to a better lifestyle before getting sclerotherapy to have the best results possible.
If you are interested in sclerotherapy, call Yaletown Laser Centre today to get started.