It is estimated that 20% of women and 10% of men suffer from varicose and spider veins worldwide. This translates to tens of millions of people in the United States alone. Whether you desire cosmetic improvement or relief of symptoms associated with leg vein problems, the following information should help you to better understand the condition and the current treatments available.
What are varicose & spider veins?
Veins throughout your body return blood back to your heart. In order to do this efficiently, veins have one-way valves to prevent blood from flowing backwards (reflux). If they fail to close properly, blood will leak through the valves and result in pooling. Over time, this pooling will force the vein walls outward resulting in enlargement and sometimes bulging of the vein. These enlarged veins are telangiectasia (commonly called spider veins) or varicose veins. Spider veins are small red, purple or bluish veins located just below the surface of the skin. They can have a linear of web like appearance, hence, the term spider vein. Varicose veins are larger veins located deeper under the skin which are abnormally enlarged. Varicose veins can protrude from the skin surface resulting in a rope-like appearance.
Who gets varicose & spider veins?
Hereditary factors play the most important role in determining whether you will develop leg vein problems. Women are more likely to have varicose or spider veins. Birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy and pregnancy play a particularly large role in the development or worsening of veins. Other factors that may accelerate the appearance of varicose or spider veins including aging, obesity, prolonged standing or sitting, constipation, leg trauma or congenital conditions.
Do spider or varicose veins cause any symptoms?
Most spider veins are nothing more than a cosmetic nuisance. In some cases, spider veins can be associated with symptoms of itching, burning, or throbbing of your legs. Although varicose veins can also be unattractive, they are often associated with symptoms. The most common symptoms include leg pain, cramps, fatigue, heaviness, swelling, or restlessness. With more severe cases, varicose veins can lead to skin changes resulting in eczema, pigmentation, ulceration, or bleeding.
What is Compression Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy was developed over 75 years ago and today is one of the most common treatments for spider veins. During the treatment, a sclerosing agent is injected into the vein through a tiny needle. Treatment can last from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the number of veins treated in a particular session. The solution, once injected into the vein, replaces the blood in the vein and causes irritation and corrosion to the walls of the vessel. The body then begins the natural healing process and the vein begins to decompose, shrink and eventually disappear. Medical grade compression stockings will need to be worn during the day for a minimum of 1 week following treatment, this will aid in the closure of your veins.
What is Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy?
For deeper varicosities, Ultrasound Guided Foam is often used to “guide” the injections into the underlying diseased veins. First the skin on the leg is numbed. Then a tiny puncture is made through which the catheter is introduced. Using the probe from the ultrasound to visualize the anatomy, the catheter is guided into the diseased vein. This allows the Foamed medication to be administered precise locations safely and accurately.
Occasionally, patients with more severe varicose veins will need further therapeutic intervention. In the past, surgical ligation and stripping was the only treatment available for these cases. Today, minimally invasive in-office methods are available and offer good alternatives to surgery for many people. One such technique is duplex ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. In experienced hands, duplex ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is highly effective, very safe and painless.
What are the side effects of Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy?
In most cases, you will be able to resume regular activities immediately. However, vigorous activities or excessive standing is not advised for 24 to 48 hours after the treatment. Following treatment, the affected veins may darken and the area may appear bruised. Sigvaris® support hose are required following treatment, this application of pressure will help reduce side effects and aid in more effective healing and treatment. After treatment of larger vessels, the affected area may appear pigmented but this is temporary and will fade over time.
What results will I see from Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy?
Gradual improvement will be noticed. Many patients experience 60% to 80% of the treated vessels resolved. During the consultation, you will be advised as to the number of treatments necessary to achieve desired results.
Who is a candidate for Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy?
Dr. Lockwood and his staff will determine if you are a candidate. During your consultation, your medical history will be reviewed to determine the cause and severity of your condition. Depending on the types of veins, a combination of different treatment modalities may be suggested. Schedule you consultation today and find out how this exciting procedure can benefit you!
How many treatments of Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy will it take?
Several treatments may be required to achieve the optimum result. As few as two or three treatments will achieve the desired outcome in some cases.
What is the treatment like?
The problem veins will be examined and reviewed with you by Dr. Lockwood or a staff member. A treatment strategy will then be decided upon to eradicate these veins. You may be asked to stand while the problem veins are marked and photographs taken. The sclerosing agent will then be injected into the targeted veins. Discomfort is minimal.
Check out our Before and After results from Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
For more information about Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy