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Pros and Cons of Spider Vein Removal

If you have spider veins, you're not alone. Millions of people in the US have some sort of vein problem, including spider veins. In 2015, 314,629 women and 7,541 men had spider vein treatment in the US, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Spider vein removal at a vein clinic has many benefits, among them getting rid of those unwanted veins. Another benefit is a boost in your confidence. But before you rush out to schedule your treatment, it helps to look at the procedures available from all angles and to really understand the positives and negatives involved.

Spider Vein Removal: The Good and the Bad

Pro: Say Good-Bye to Unsightly Veins

One of the main reasons to consider spider vein treatment is that the procedures, such as sclerotherapy, usually work very well and effectively eliminate the unwanted veins. In the case of sclerotherapy, the vein doctor injects the veins with a special chemical solution. The solution destroys the veins, so that they collapse and disappear from view.

Con: You Might Need Multiple Treatments

A drawback of sclerotherapy and other spider vein removal treatments is that occasionally, you need more than one treatment to get the results you want. Often, the treatments are spaced a few weeks to a month apart.

Pro: There's No Downtime

Although you might need multiple spider vein treatments to get the full results, you won't have to really disrupt your life between or after treatments. Usually, no recovery or downtime is needed after treatment. You'll be able to get back to work or your regular activities immediately afterwards. You might have to wait a week or so before you start working out again, though.

Additionally, preparation before the treatment is minimal and the process is usually very quick, so its overall impact on your schedule should be minimal.

Con: Hello, Compression Stockings

While you don't have to set aside time off from work following a spider vein treatment, your doctor will most likely advise you to wear compression stockings for a few days or weeks afterwards. Wearing the stockings helps improve your results. They put pressure on the treated area, so that the veins fade away and collapse more easily. The downside is that compression stockings can seriously cramp your style. It's best to think of them as a temporary setback on the road to looking better and feeling more confident. You can always cover them up with a pair of pants or a long skirt.

For many patients, the pros of spider vein removal far outweigh the cons. If you have more questions about your treatment options or would like to learn more about sclerotherapy, talk to Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart and Vein Care today. Call 1-805-979-4777 to schedule an appointment.

Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?

Fortunately, spider veins are seldom serious medical problems.  However, for some individuals, they steal self-confidence.  The so-called gold standard of spider vein treatment is sclerotherapy.  Learning about these vessels and this procedure helps patients understand whether they are good candidates for this treatment.

Overview of Spider Veins

These abnormal blood vessels get their name from their appearance, which resembles a spider’s web.  They develop when a small group of veins near the skin’s surface enlarge.  The University of Chicago Medicine says they are typically red or purple and most frequently develop on a patient’s legs or face, more frequently in females than in males.

While these spidery veins are similar to varicose veins, they usually form closer to the surface of the skin.  They also tend to be much smaller than varicose vessels.

How Sclerotherapy Works

The use of this outpatient procedure in the United States dates to the 1930s, according to the Cleveland Clinic.  In one session, a vascular specialist is usually able to get rid of between 50 and 80 percent of unwanted vessels.

More than 90 percent of sclerotherapy patients respond to the treatment.  However, since no procedure to eliminate a spider vein problem prevents new vessels from forming, some individuals return from time to time for additional sessions.

Sclerotherapy utilizes injections into targeted veins.  It is sometimes also useful for small varicose veins.  Many physicians combine ultrasound with sclerotherapy for the most precise results.

The physician inserts a very fine needle into each targeted vein to inject a special substance called a sclerosant.  The sclerosant irritates the vein, causing it to collapse and eventually disappear.  Normal veins nearby pick up its circulatory duties.

While MedicineNet reports that some sclerosants are more painful than others, most patients report very little discomfort beyond a mild burning sensation.  Sessions usually last an hour or less.

Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?

The path to eliminating a spider vein problem begins at a consultation with a physician who specializes in vascular issues.  After taking a medical history and conducting a physical exam, the doctor will determine whether a patient is a likely candidate for the procedure.

Acceptable candidates usually have these attributes:

  • They have realistic expectations of the treatment and results.
  • They are not pregnant or breastfeeding and have not been pregnant for a minimum of three months.
  • They are between 30 and 60 years old.
  • They are able to follow the detailed instructions issued before and after sclerotherapy.
  • They acknowledge that the treatment will not stop the formation of future veins.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, these criteria preclude becoming a candidate:

  • Desired vessels could be used for a future bypass
  • Individual has a history of clots or has clotting issues requiring individual analysis
  • Patient is bedridden.

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