Sclerotherapy is a Great Spider Vein Treatment
Procedure specific satisfaction rating
Spider vein treatment
About 3 months ago I became so depressed about my spider veins (that literally seemed to creep up on me after my first child) I decided to see dermatologist to discuss what options I had to get rid of them. She explained that spider veins are often linked to heredity, weight gain/loss, pregnancy, standing chronically (I work in healthcare as an RN in the ER standing for what feels like an entire 12 hour shift 3 days a week), and crossing your legs when sitting (that last cause seemed far fetched to me, but heed the warning ladies!). I asked her if there was any way I could have prevented this, and she told me that my career choice and lack of support stockings may have prolonged the likelihood of me getting the dilated looking veins, but it was likely going to occur no matter what.
The doctor continued to tell me that depending on the veins that could be seen, varicose veins and/or spider veins can be treated with lasers or ablation techniques, liquids that are injected, or foam sclerotherapy injections. These are typically not covered by insurance, unless they are performed by a vascular surgeon or vascular doctor and have a true medical need - not just my unhappiness with my unsightly veins that had forced me into pants and cropped pants most of the summer.
The laser therapy wasn’t something that she performed, but advised that if I was really intent on that likely more expensive procedure, I could consult with a vascular surgeon or a specialized vein center who would probably be better able to help me. She also informed me that laser treatment was more often used for patients with a vein disease or medical condition associated with the varicose veins.
I decided to go with the injection she did - a glycerin solution, she advised - that would essentially destroy the wall of the blood vessels so they no longer transmit blood to be seen on the surface of my thighs and calves. She told me that there was a risk of bruising and swelling, but a lower risk for more serious side effects of blood clots, thrombophlebitis (inflamed and/or blocked blood vessels) or ulcers. I have an allergy to penicillin, but she assured me that allergic reactions to this type of solution were extremely uncommon. The vein treatment cost per session varied on the number of syringes she needed to use to treat the areas I wanted to address, and the one session for areas on my thighs and calves cost me $400. After a few minutes of explanation and prep - she began the process. A tiny needle was used to inject the material (I kept my eyes away from watching - I have been known to faint), and before I knew it, we were done!
It was relatively painless, despite not having any local anesthesia, and I felt great afterwards. I was told not to do any heavy exercise for the next several days, especially strenuous leg workouts - no problem there doc! And after a few days, some slight bruising from the procedure had already started to fade. A friend of mine after the fact told me that I could have tried Arnica and/or Bromelain which are supplements for bruising and swelling, but the bruising really wasn’t a big deal for me since it was almost completely gone after a week. My friend, who has had cosmetic procedures before, also told me that her plastic surgeon who treated her leg veins made her get compression stockings, but I wasn't told I had to use those for part of my aftercare either. I had no pain after the procedure and even the bruises weren’t tender like a typical bruise from banging your leg into a dresser. Most of the veins the dermatologist had treated were completely gone, but she did warn me that I’d have to see her for multiple treatments to completely get rid of them.
About a month later I returned to my physician's office for a follow-up on my veins and the dermatologist put my “before” photos up on the screen in her office - what a difference! I was so happy to see the change because I was a little disappointed ALL of the varicose and spider veins she treated weren’t completely gone. After seeing the before-and-after photos (after only one session) I was so excited to continue with as many more sessions as I needed to make my legs one of my best features again.
If you’re looking for a great spider vein treatment I would highly recommend doing your research on sclerotherapy (the type of treatment I did) and local providers either in plastic surgery, dermatology, or vascular surgery specialties to find the right option for you.