Many people are bothered by small and unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins that commonly appear on the thighs, calves and ankles. These veins are referred to as “spider veins” or “reticular veins”. It is estimated that at least half of the adult female population is affected with this common cosmetic problem. The formation of these unwanted veins has been linked to heredity, pregnancy, weight gain, long periods of standing, and certain medications.
The two main options for removal of unwanted leg veins are laser therapy and sclerotherapy. Laser therapy is used for very small spider leg veins, while sclerotherapy is considered a superior treatment for all other leg veins. Often times these two modalities will be used in combination to achieve optimal results.
Several clinical studies have demonstrated that sclerotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for the removal of unwanted leg veins. With this procedure, the affected veins are injected with a sclerosing solution, which irritates the blood vessels and tells your body to destroy and absorb them. This occurs over a period of weeks to months. The most common sclerosing agents used today are hypertonic saline (concentrated salt water) and Sotradecol. The procedure may also remedy the bothersome symptoms associated with spider veins, including aching, burning, swelling and night cramps.
Sclerotherapy can be used to treat spider veins, reticular veins, or blue veins, as well as large veins on the back and side of the calf and thigh areas. After treatment with sclerotherapy, it is recommended that the patient wear compression stockings for several days to a few weeks to obtain maximal benefit from treatment.
Sclerotherapy can enhance your appearance and improve your self confidence, but it’s important to understand that every affected vein may not disappear completely after treatment. Improvement is usually noted after each treatment, but several sessions are usually required to achieve optimal results.