If you have previously sought care for varicose or spider veins in the greater Boston area and were left unsatisfied with your results, the team at The Center for Classic Beauty would like to invite you to learn more about Dr. Anna Petropoulos‘ sclerotherapy treatment.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is one of the longest-standing treatments for spider veins and varicose veins. It is a minimally-invasive technique that relies on sclerosing agents to systematically damage the inner walls of affected veins. In addition to eliminating the cosmetic concerns presented by visible veins, sclerotherapy also decreases the side effects and discomfort associated with swollen varicose veins.
Varicose veins tend to occur in the feet and legs. These veins may become increasingly swollen, raised, discolored, and uncomfortable as blood accumulates. Spider veins are smaller. They do not tend to swell and hurt the way that varicose veins do. These veins, though small, can be very visible due to their proximity to the surface of the skin.
Sclerotherapy can effectively and safely treat both varicose veins and spider veins. Common areas on which this procedure can be performed include:
How is Sclerotherapy Performed?
Sclerotherapy is performed in the office. The appointment may take from a few minutes to an hour depending on the severity of the condition and number of veins needing treatment. If sclerotherapy is performed on the legs, you may lie on your back with your leg slightly elevated. The skin around the injection sites will be cleaned before a very fine needle is used to introduce a sclerosing medication into the vein.
A sclerosing agent is one that irritates the inner wall of the vein in a controlled manner. This medication may be in the form of a liquid or a foam; both work the same way. When absorbed into the vein walls, the medication causes the vein to seal closed. The vein then gets absorbed over time, causing it to fade away. Blood redirects to a nearby vein that is healthier and capable of supporting circulation toward the heart.
Is Sclerotherapy Painful?
Sclerotherapy is performed with such a small needle that patients hardly feel the tiny pokes made in the skin. As sclerosing medication enters the vein, there is a chance of feeling a slight burning or cramping sensation. However, this only lasts a moment before it fades away. Some parts of the vein may feel this minor discomfort, while other injections aren’t even felt. After treatment is complete, compression stockings may be recommended to keep the medication in the veins longer and to also decrease swelling.
Recovery from Sclerotherapy
Being so conservative, sclerotherapy requires little if any downtime. Most patients can return to normal activities immediately and without discomfort. Compression stockings should be worn for the first 24 hours after treatment. These can be removed to shower but should be applied right away. After the first day, compression can be limited to daytime use only. While walking is acceptable, aerobic exercise should be postponed for a few days after sclerotherapy.
If discomfort does occur, acetaminophen can be taken. Ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided, as they affect blood clotting.
Patients are advised to avoid sitting water, including bathtubs, swimming pools, and hot tubs for a few days. Direct sunlight and excessive heat should also be avoided for two to three days after treatment.
Am I a Candidate for Sclerotherapy in Boston?
Varicose veins and spider veins may develop for several reasons. Contributing factors include a family history of vein conditions, prolonged sitting or standing, hormones, and obesity. Sclerotherapy can benefit a healthy adult who is concerned about the appearance and discomfort of poorly functioning veins. Most patients are between the ages of 30 and 60, though age is not a primary factor in qualifying for treatment. Sclerotherapy is not appropriate for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding or for individuals who have a blood clotting disorder.
When Will I See Results from my sclerotherapy treatment in Boston?
Spider veins and small varicose veins tend to respond nicely to sclerotherapy. In these instances, results may become visible within two to three weeks. Larger veins can take a few months to begin looking better. Every person may respond differently to sclerotherapy. Some people achieve their desired outcome from just one treatment, while others need a series of injections to fully eradicate the veins in question.
A study published in 2014 reported that 83% of people treated with sclerotherapy achieved satisfactory improvement in the symptoms of varicose veins. Realistic expectations are important, though. While treatment can eliminate existing visible veins, there is no preventive benefit to sclerotherapy. New spider or varicose veins could develop in the future. Having sclerotherapy once does not exclude a person from undergoing the procedure again for new veins.
Are there any side effects associated with Sclerotherapy?
Side effects that are common to sclerotherapy include temporary burning, stinging, or cramping as the medication is absorbed. After treatment, patients may experience:
- Raised redness at injection sites
- Bruising or other skin discoloration
Bruising may be the most significant side effect of sclerotherapy. This can last from a few days to a few weeks. Brown lines may also develop in the treatment area. In some cases, these can last several months.
Schedule A Consultation
Call our office today at 978-739-9500 or use our online form to schedule a consultation with Dr. Petropoulos and determine if sclerotherapy is the right treatment for you! The Center for Classic Beauty serves patients from all across the greater Boston area.