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Arrange a consultation with Dr. Ali to discuss your expectations and the estimated number of treatment sessions you will need.
Sclerotherapy treatment is a popular method of eliminating varicose veins and superficial telangiectasias ("spider veins") in which a solution, called a "sclerosing agent," is injected into the veins causing them to collapse. The procedure may also remedy the bothersome symptoms associated with spider veins, including aching, burning, swelling and night cramps. Sclerosing agents that are mild enough to use in small veins have made sclerotherapy predictable and quite painless.
Spider veins usually take on one of three basic patterns. They may appear in a true spider shape with a group of veins radiating outward from a dark central point; they may be arborizing and will resemble tiny branch-like shapes; or they may be linear and appear as thin distinct lines. They represent a dilation of surface vessels secondary to increased pressure in the deeper veins. Spider veins do not serve any physiological purpose.
For all intents and purposes, they are considered "redundant vessels." Varicose veins differ from spider veins in a number of ways. Varicose veins are larger in diameter, darker in color, and tend to bulge. Varicose veins are also more likely to cause pain and relates to more serious vein disorders. For many patients, sclerotherapy is use to treat varicose veins. For others, Dr. Ali uses the combination of sclerotherapy and laser treatments to give excellent results. In extreme conditions, surgical treatment is necessary for this condition.
Women of any age may be good candidates for sclerotherapy, but the typical patient is in the 30 and above category. Spider veins in men aren't nearly as common as they are in women. Men who do have spider veins often do not consider them to be a problem as hair conceals the veins. However, sclerotherapy treatment is just as effective for men, and Dr. Ali has several male patients.
After each sclerotherapy session, the veins may appear to be worse until they begin to fade. Two or more sessions are usually required to achieve optimal results. Bruising after each session can last up to six weeks. You should also be aware that the procedure treats only those veins that are currently visible; it does nothing to prevent new veins from surfacing in the future. So, before you decide to have sclerotherapy treatment, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with Dr. Ali.
Serious medical complications from sclerotherapy are extremely rare when a qualified practitioner perform the procedure. However, they may occur. Risks include the formation of blood clots in the veins, severe inflammation, adverse allergic reactions to the sclerosing solution, and skin injury that could leave a small but permanent scar. A common cosmetic complication is pigmentation irregularity - brownish splotches on the affected skin that may take months to fade.
Another problem that can occur is "Telangiectatic matting," fine reddish blood vessels around the treated area, can occur which will require further injections or treatment with the Vbeam laser. The risks reduce when you work with a qualified doctor who is well versed in the different types of sclerosing agents available. Dr. Ali will decide which sclerosing agent is appropriate for your condition.
The number of treatments needed differs from patient to patient, depending on the extent of varicose and spider veins present.
Vein striping and/or ligation is also use to treat large varicose veins. This generally may require a hospital stay and the patient needs to be under general anesthesia. Risks of vein stripping or ligation include permanent nerve paralysis in up to 30% of patients and possible pulmonary emboli, infection, and permanent scarring. So, we do not perform this vein stripping or ligation at our center.