Spider veins are very small blood vessels located in the outer layer of skin. The color is either red or blue based upon the capillary anatomy. These vessels are often unsightly in appearance, and sometimes cause discomfort in the skin. Reticular veins are a little larger and are located slightly deeper in the skin. They are blue in color and often are the feeder source to the spider veins. Both veins are treated to improve skin appearance and to eliminate skin discomfort if present. Modern treatments are effective to remove these veins from the skin. The following instructions will help prepare you for treatment and assure the best results possible.
Spider veins are caused primarily by genetic inheritance, but may be associated with an underlying vein insufficiency problem. Excess pressure in the larger saphenous veins can be transmitted to the skin, and may lead to dilated reticular and spider veins. The underlying problem is best treated first, in order to reduce the chance that spider veins will return at a later date. When such a problem is corrected, fewer spider veins will appear in subsequent years. Your initial consultation and examination includes an ultrasound evaluation of the anatomy and physiology of your leg veins. This thorough assessment assures that you will receive proper therapy, not only to treat the spider veins but also to correct any underlying problem which may contribute to their appearance.
Spider veins treatments do not require anesthesia of any kind, therefore you may eat and drink as you would in any normal day.
If you have needle fright or wish a mild sedative, we can provide that for you. However, we would then require someone to drive you home after your treatment. In general, a request for a sedative is very rare.
The shaved leg is a little easier to treat, allowing better visibility of the small veins. We also recommend that men shave the area to be treated. Please shave greater (not less) than 24 hours before the procedure.
Oils and creams make the treatments a little more difficult, and we recommend that you do not apply them to your legs on the day of treatment.
On the day of your procedure, bring with you or wear shorts or loose clothing. Some medications should be avoided for several days prior to treatment. If you are on Coumadin or Pradaxa, we may instruct you to not take these drugs for several days before treatment. We will make sure you INR is acceptable before the procedure. Not all patients on these potent blood thinners are candidates for cosmetic sclerotherapy. Iron supplements, or vitamins with iron, also should be stopped at least one week before treatment. Please be sure we know the medicines you take even if they are “natural” medications so that we can advise you regarding your treatment preparation. Avoid aspirin (unless prescribed by your physician) for one week prior to scheduled treatment.
Spider veins are best treated by a technique called sclerotherapy. This requires the injection of a solution into the abnormal veins. The solution damages the inside lining of the vein, causing the vein initially to clot, and then to scar closed. Once adequately scarred, or sclerosed, the vein will not re-open and will not reoccur.
The sclerosing solutions most commonly used at Vein Specialists of Tampa are Sotradecol, Polidocanol and Glycerin/Lidocaine. These are excellent treatment methods which give very good results and minimum side effects.
The injections are not painful as perceived by almost all of our patients. The needles are very small (30 gauge), and often cannot be felt as they penetrate the small veins. However, many injections are often required, and one must be prepared to accept the treatment.
The solutions will sometimes cause a burning sensation which lasts several minutes. If the discomfort seems excessive, you will receive immediate cold compresses.
We try to treat veins in both legs, both front and back, at each treatment session. Hopefully there will be fewer veins at each subsequent treatment.
We hope to ultimately achieve at least 80% or better resolution of all spider veins. This may require several treatments and as long as one year or more. If there are a few scattered spider veins, these usually can be eliminated within 6 months or less. If there are a lot of blue spider veins, the treatment may take one year or longer to achieve desired results. You will be advised of our expectations at the time of your consultation.
As with any medical treatment, complications can and do occasionally occur. Often these are referred to more accurately as side effects of spider vein treatments. At Vein Specialists of Tampa, we have worked hard to select the best treatment options available today which cause the least adverse side effects. Some of the side effects possible are these:
Sclerotherapy complications are rare and it is safely administered to thousands of patients each year.
The cost of treatment and insurance coverage can be summarized as follows:
Please note our policy regarding appointment cancellations. Except for true emergencies, we respectfully request you notify us 72 hours prior to an appointment cancellation. Thank you for seeking consultation and treatment with Vein Specialists of Tampa. Our efforts are to offer you the best and safest treatment options available today. If you have any questions, please call or email for answers and we will be pleased to respond. Be patient as we observe the results of treatment, for often several months must pass before we see the results we all desire. We look forward to working with you as we provide the specialty care for your vein problems.