Millions of women are bothered by spider veins - those small yet unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins that most commonly appear on the thighs, calves and ankles. In fact, it's estimated that at least half of the adult female population is plagued with this common cosmetic problem.
SPINDER VEIN, VARICOSE VEIN THERAPY
Spider veins are dilated small blood vessels that have a red or bluish color. They appear mostly on the legs, occasionally on the face or elsewhere, and may often be unwanted.
Some people with unwanted blood vessels can have pain, ranging from a dull throbbing pain to a burning sensation. The larger vessels are more likely to cause discomfort.
Although unwanted blood vessels carry blood, the great majority of them, especially spider veins, are not necessary. If they are unsightly or uncomfortable, they can be treated by injection of a solution that will cause them to disappear or become much smaller. There is about at 50 - 90 percent chance for a greatly improved appearance.
WHAT CAUSES THESE BLOOD VESSELS TO BECOME VISIBLE?
Spider veins appear in both men and women, but more frequently in women. The hormones estrogen and progesterone may play a role in their development. Puberty, birth control pills, pregnancy or hormone replacement therapy often seem to bring them out. They may also appear after an injury or as a result of wearing tight girdles or hosiery held up with tight rubber bands. Spider veins may also occur with large varicose veins.
Spider veins on the nose or the cheeks of fair skinned persons may be related to sun exposure.
CAN SPIDER VEINS BE PREVENTED?
Spider veins can't always be prevented. Wearing support hose may prevent some unwanted blood vessels from developing. Keeping ones weight at a normal level and exercising regularly may also be helpful. Eating a high-fiber diet and wearing low-heeled shoes can also help. Sun protection is important to limit the number of unwanted vessels on the face.
HOW ARE UNWANTED BLOOD VESSELS ON THE LEGS TREATED?
In the majority of cases, a procedure called sclerotherapy is used to treat unwanted blood vessels. One of several kinds of solutions, called sclerosing solution, is injected with a very fine needle directly into the blood vessel. This procedure has been used for spider veins since the 1930's and before that for larger veins. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell and stick together and the blood to clot.
Over a period of weeks, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades, eventually becoming barely noticeable or invisible.
A single blood vessel may have to be injected more than once, some weeks apart, depending on its size. In any treatment session a number of vessels can be injected.
The solutions available are slightly different and the choice of which solution to use depends on several factors including the size of the vessel to be injected. Dr. Turenne will decide the solution that is best for your particular case.
Occasionally larger varicose veins are underneath the spider veins. In such cases, some physicians believe these vessels should be treated before the spider veins. This can be done by sclerotherapy followed by compression or by a surgical procedure performed by a vascular surgeon. Other physicians believe that spider veins may be treated by sclerotherapy without worrying about the varicose veins unless they become troublesome.
HOW SUCCESSFUL IS SCLEROTHERAPY?
After several treatments, most patients can expect a 50 - 90 percent improvement. However, fading is gradual. Disappearance of spider veins is usually achieved, but similar veins may appear in the same general area.
CAN SCLEROTHERAPY BE USED ON ALL SKIN TYPES?
Yes. All skin types and skin colors respond equally well.
ARE THERE SIDE EFFECTS TO SCLEROTHERAPY?
Even with a highly experienced physician performing the treatment, there are some possible side effects. They include:
- Stinging or pain at the site of injection, swelling of the ankles or feet or muscle cramps. Muscle cramps almost always occur when the injection takes place in the ankle area. These usually go away within 10 to 15 minutes after injection.
- Red, raised areas at the sites of injection. These should disappear within a day or so.
- Brown lines or spots on the skin at the sites of treated blood vessels. Probably made up of a form of iron in the blood, these darkened areas may result when blood escapes from treated veins. These dark areas occur more often in patients who have larger veins treated. In most cased, they disappear with a year, but in a small percent of patients they may last longer.
- Development of groups of fine red blood vessels near the sites of injection of larger vessels, especially on the thighs. About a third of patients develop these; most disappear by themselves, some go away with injection treatment or laser therapy, a few may last.
- Small, painful ulcers at treatment sites either immediately or within a few days of injection. These occur when some of the solution escapes into the surrounding skin. These can be successfully treated, but it is necessary to inform the physician of them immediately.
- Allergic reactions to certain sclerosing solutions. Although such reactions can be serious, and require immediate injections of epinephrine. Less serious reactions are treated with antihistamines.
- Inflammation of treated blood vessels. This is very unusual but when it occurs it is treated with medications such as aspirins, compression, antibiotics or heat.
- Lumps in injected vessels, particularly larger ones, may develop. This is coagulated blood but is not dangerous. The dermatologist may drain the blood out of these areas a few weeks after injection.
WILL TREATED VEINS RECUR?
Larger veins are likely to recur unless support hose are worn. Spider veins may also recur. It may seem that a previously injected vessel has recurred, when, in fact, a new spider vein has appeared in the same area.
IS A HISTORY OF BLOOD CLOTS IN THE LUNGS OR LEGS A REASON TO AVOID THERAPY?
Not necessarily, but the procedure must be done with caution to lessen the risk of blood clots.
ARE THERE OTHER TREATMENT METHODS?
New lasers may hold promise for treating blood vessels, but currently vessels in the legs do not respond uniformly to laser treatment. Surgically tying veins off (ligation) or pulling them out (stripping) are other procedures for treating unwanted blood vessels. They are usually reserved for large varicose veins.
HOW ARE SPIDER VEINS ON THE FACE TREATED?
There are several ways to treat spider veins on the face. Lasers have been used successful, alone or in combination with electric needle therapy.
WHAT DO I DO AFTER TREATMENT?
Depending on certain factors, such as the size of the blood vessels injected, patients may be instructed to put their legs up for an hour or two and then walk. Others are asked to walk immediately. All patients are instructed to walk a good deal in the days following the procedure so that blood will be pushed through other vessels.
Wearing support hose help seal the treated vessels, keep the blood from collecting under the skin and reduce the development of dart spots. It also may reduce the number of treatments necessary, and the possibility of recurrence.
The Cost is $165.00 CDN includes GST.
As many veins as possible will be treated in a 20 minute session.