Spider veins also known as thread veins are not considered to be a dangerous condition although they often cluster in areas of the body that are often visible such as the legs and they are therefore viewed as a significant cosmetic nuisance. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical sclerosant also known as microsclerotherapy that can get rid of spider veins in a simple and quick procedure.
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What are spider veins?
Spider veins often have a branching pattern that often appears spider-like. Spider veins are essentially enlarged capillaries and most commonly have a purple or blue appearance and their extensive branching pattern often resembles the legs of a spider. They can appear threadlike with a prominent branching pattern. Spider veins are also known as thread veins and most commonly develop on the legs although they can form anywhere on the body.
Spider veins are commonly confused with varicose veins. Spider veins differ from varicose veins in that they do not protrude and bulge through the skin as a varicose vein does. Spider veins are not typically associated with pain or discomfort. Varicose veins usually bulge outwards Beyond the surface layer of the skin and are often associated with pain, itchiness and aching. Most people choose to have spider veins removed for cosmetic reasons. In some cases, spider veins may signify the presence of underlying varicose veins. This is why it is always important to have an ultrasound scan of the legs to rule out valve dysfunction in the deeper veins of the leg. Any treatment of spider veins in the presence of valve dysfunction will have a high likelihood of recurrence.
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It is not entirely understood why spider veins form although the most likely explanation is the presence of valve dysfunction in the veins or weakening of the vein walls. The causes of venous insufficiency are often related to a number of factors. Spider veins and varicose veins occur more commonly in women compared with men and are often related to pregnancy, hormonal fluctuations or traumatic injury. Maybe people will develop spider veins as a result of genetics.
What does spider vein removal involve?
Sclerotherapy is a quick outpatient procedure without the need for anaesthetic or surgical incisions. Spider vein removal takes between 30 to 60 minutes to carry out depending on the extent of spider veins. Your vein specialist will prepare a chemical sclerosant solution before precisely injecting it directly into the affected spider veins. Sclerotherapy treatment is designed to seal the vein and this leads to a diversion of blood flow through healthier veins in the area of treatment. The affected spider veins are gradually reabsorbed by the body which causes them to fade and eventually disappear. Sclerotherapy is not a painful procedure as the needles used for injection are very small. In some cases, the treatment may cause minimal discomfort although this is associated with the treatment of larger areas. The vast majority of patients find sclerotherapy to be a very comfortable treatment.
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For best results after sclerotherapy, we would recommend at least three treatments per spider vein. You can expect to see the final results of treatment after the third session of sclerotherapy for spider veins.
Recovery after sclerotherapy for spider veins
Sclerotherapy for spider veins does not involve any downtime and patients can return to their normal activities immediately after the procedure. It is normal to have areas of localised bruising at the site of treatment. There may be areas of tenderness and itchiness which usually settle down after a few days. Any red dots at the sites of the injection will resolve after seven days. To minimise the risk of infection, you should avoid swimming pools or Jacuzzis and you should refrain from any heavy lifting for at least three days after treatment. Mild exercise is absolutely fine. The areas of treatment should be covered for at least five days to avoid excessive sunlight exposure causing pigmentation.
Best results can be achieved by regularly applying arnica cream to accelerate healing and wearing the prescribed compression stockings for a minimum of seven days after treatment. Your vascular specialist will give you details care instructions once your treatment is complete
How much does sclerotherapy cost?
The cost of sclerotherapy will depend on the number of treatment sessions needed. At your face-to-face consultation, you will be clinically assessed and the doctor will then prepare a customised treatment plan that is designed to get rid of spider veins.
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Sclerotherapy injections cost £275 per treatment session. Specialised compression stockings cost £65. A follow-up appointment with your vein expert costs £75. Each set of injections is classed as one treatment. The amount of sclerotherapy that can be performed in each session must be kept below the maximum safety limits to prevent the risk of complications from occurring. You may need further follow-up treatments which will depend on the outcome achieved at your first treatment. It is normal to have multiple treatment sessions with sclerotherapy for effective clearance.
How long does sclerotherapy last?
Although treatment for spider veins achieves fast and effective clearance, spider vein removal is not a permanent procedure. If a patient is already prone to developing spider veins it is virtually impossible to prevent new spider veins from forming. Despite this, spider veins are very amenable to treatment and can be fully removed using microsclerotherapy.
The extent of spider veins varies between individuals and the number of treatments required will often depend on the way people respond to treatment. Many people will require maintenance injections every 3 to 6 months while some may only require treatment once a year. The number of sclerotherapy injections for spider veins required will be determined once you have had a face-to-face consultation with an expert vascular specialist.
Sclerotherapy injections are available at our Baker Street clinic in Marylebone:
Call us today to book a consultation for spider vein sclerotherapy treatment at 020 7993 4849 or complete the contact form below.