Letting Go Off Problem Veins
For many people, it gets to the point where symptoms are unbearable: heavy, tired legs; unflattering varicose veins; swelling and itching. Others, like blogger Julyne Derrick, may find that their spider veins are too unsightly and likely to get worse. Her feelings of self-consciousness came to a boil when she was on a beach vacation in Mexico. “Turns out I’m a closet beach freak,” she writes, “[s]ince bathing suits were now in my future, the unsightly veins had to go.”
In her research, she came upon a special procedure, sclerotherapy, that could clear up the problem. This is a quick, non-invasive treatment involving the injection of a special saline solution that breaks down problem varicose or spider veins. The solution contains a blood clotting agent, so problems areas start to stick together; over time, scar tissue develops, which effectively hides unsightliness and gets rid of associated problems.
As Derrick would tell you, it’s a quick procedure; after an initial consultation appointment, she reports that her actual treatment only took about 15 minutes. Further, she was blown away by how tolerable it was: “I left my appointment pleased with the convenience and pain level of the actual procedure.”
But the bigger question is, what’s life like after sclerotherapy?
The Early Going
It’s important to note that recovery is very much dependent on the scope and scale of treatment. Sclerotherapy for varicose veins is going to be more impactful than that for spider veins; it therefore takes much longer to see results. But the good news here? Typically, those that have this treatment will be able to drive and resume normal activities the same day!
Here’s a quick breakdown of what your doctor might tell you after sclerotherapy:
- Multiple Treatments: In some cases, you may need to undergo more than one sclerotherapy treatment. Be prepared to schedule a time to come back.
- Walking Is Encouraged: While there may be some discomfort, it’s usually encouraged that you resume walking or other physical activities. This promotes healing.
- Compression Garments: You will need to wear specialized compression stockings for some time after treatment. Not just any hoses will do, but there are therapeutic types you can buy.
- Be Patient: Put simply, in the first week or two after treatment, your legs aren’t going to look great. There will be bruising and discoloration; however, as everything heals this will pass.
In addition, you’ll be advised to avoid the following for the first couple days post-treatment:
- Ibuprofen, aspirin, or other anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Hot baths.
- Saunas or jacuzzies.
- Direct exposure to sunlight.
Finally, you’ll be told that injection sites can be washed with soap and lukewarm or cool water. Showers are OK too, but, unfortunately, you’ll need to ensure water temperature is colder than usual.
As with any medical procedure, there’s always going to be a risk of side-effects, and your doctor will surely tell you about them. Most of these are pretty easily managed. Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Itching: For one to two days after the procedure, some patients report itching in the affected area.
- Red Bumps: Reddish bumps at the injection site are not uncommon, though these usually resolve pretty quickly.
- Bruising: As noted above, some patients will see bruises develop on their legs. These are usually gone within two weeks.
- New Tiny Vessels: A process called “neovascularization” sometimes occurs after sclerotherapy. This is when new, small vessels form in the affected area; however, they tend to disappear within three to 12 months.
- Long Recovery: In some cases, larger veins become lumpy and hardened post-injection, so it takes longer for them to disappear.
- Brown Spots: Brown colored spots or lines can appear along the injected vein, but usually these disappear within six months.
Notably, too, if you experience inflammation near the groin, sudden onset of swollen leg, and the formation of ulcers at the site of injection, contact your doctor immediately.
The Long View
Individual cases vary, but it’s worth noting that sclerotherapy is highly effective; less than 10 percent of patients see no effect, and up to 80 percent of injected veins disappear. And while you may require multiple sessions, the relief you feel, as well as the way your legs will look, make it worthwhile. Most important is that you find the right clinic and doctor to work with. Julyne Derrick was impressed by the clinic she visited in her native New York City, but there are certainly many options out there.
With the right help, your varicose or spider veins will become a thing of the past.
If you’re interested in learning more about sclerotherapy, talk to a Patient Care Manager at Hamilton Vein Center. The experts here have helped countless patients find real, effective solutions to varicose veins, spider veins, as well as a host of other vascular issues. Learn more about what this team does by calling their Houston, TX office at (281) 565-0033, Austin at (512) 551-1403, or San Antonio at (210) 504-4304 today!
- Derrick, J. (2017). I Got My Spider Veins Removed. Did It Work?. [online] LiveAbout. Available at: https://www.liveabout.com/sclerotherapy-i-got-my-spider-veins-removed-did-it-work-345725 [Accessed 31 Jan. 2018].
- (2016). Sclerotherapy for Varicose and Spider Veins. [online] Available at: https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/cosmetic-procedures-sclerotherapy#1 [Accessed 31 Jan. 2018].