Sclerotherapy for spider veins and small varicose veins In Pittsburgh PA
Sclerotherapy is a very widely used in-office procedure designed to reduce the appearance of spider veins and smaller varicose veins. It improves the appearance of the legs, and can also relieve symptoms usually associated with chronic vein disease such as heaviness, achiness, and excessive swelling.
This approach relies on specialized medications injected directly into the walls of the diseased veins. This causes large amounts of inflammation, which basically causes the veins to swell shut. This stops flow to the diseased vein, which wasn’t working properly to begin with, and blood is rerouted via healthier veins. Overall circulation is improved as a result.
Nearly all veins in the body contain valves, which ensure that blood flows in the right direction, which is back towards the heart. When these valves become damaged and weak, they swell under the pressure of blood which isn’t efficiently flowing back up the legs. During walking, the squeezing action of the calf muscles act as a kind of pump to aid this process.
Spider veins develop in much the same manner, they’re simply smaller than what is commonly thought of as varicose veins. These are occasionally caused by hormonal cha
Sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider and varicose veins
Sclerotherapy Pittsburgh is an injection based approach to treating smaller problem veins such as clusters of spider veins or small varicosities. Using a very fine needle, such as those used to inject Botox, specialized medication is introduced directly into the veins being treated. The aims are twofold: to improve the cosmetic appearance of the legs, as well as to eliminate symptoms such as swelling, achiness, and heaviness.nges, including oral birth control medications, as well as by excessive sun exposure.
If you’re considering undergoing sclerotherapy (or any other vein procedure), you’ll need to meet with your doctor to make sure of several basic things. You’ll be evaluated to see if you’re a candidate, and if so you can begin to discuss realistic expectations.
You’ll also review your medical history with the doctor. This includes discussing past and active illnesses as well as a reviewing the list of medications that you’re taking. Your family history will also come into play, particularly if you have a history of vein disease or other circulatory problems.
Once you’ve been qualified as a candidate, simply call and make an appointment for your procedure. When everything is finished you’ll be wrapped in compressive dressings and given prescription compression stockings to wear for the first two weeks after the procedure. This helps to reduce swelling and aid the healing process.
Sclerotherapy pittsburgh pa almost never requires anesthesia. It’s a safe, effective, in-office procedure that only takes about a half hour. More time may be necessary if very large areas of spider veins multiple different larger varicose veins are being treated.
During treatment, the patient lies back in with the legs elevated slightly. This reduces the pressure inside the veins being treated. The area of treatment will be sterilized, and treatment can begin.
Several injections are made into the veins in question using tiny cosmetic needles, which allow precise access to even very small veins. The medication injected directly into the vein, and by design it creates high levels of irritation and inflammation. This has the effect of sealing the vein shut. The legs contain literally miles of veins, and the blood is immediately rerouted to healthy nearby veins. Eventually these closed veins are simply absorbed back into the body.
Is Sclerotherapy in pittsburgh effective in treating spider veins?
This minimally invasive approach to eliminating problem veins is indeed safe and effective. A specialized medication is injected into the vein in question, causing them to collapse, shrink, and eventually go away entirely.
When is this type of treatment used?
This therapy excels at removing unsightly clusters of spider veins, thus improving the leg’s appearance. When used on slightly larger varicose veins (those less than 3 mm in diameter), sclerotherapy can relieve symptoms associated with chronic vein disease such as pain, swelling, and tiredness.
How do I prepare for the procedure?
You’ll start with a review of any medications you’re currently taking. You’ll also review drug and environmental allergies, since some patients are allergic to local anesthetics such as lidocaine. You’ll also need to stop taking over the counter pain medications such as ibuprofen and aspirin, which thin the blood and can cause excess bleeding.
You might be asked to stop taking dietary supplements, and you’ll discuss other illnesses you currently have. A thorough history and physical exam will be performed. Don’t wear lotion to your procedure appointment, and be sure to dress in comfortable, loose clothing. Shorts are the best option.
What does sclerotherapy equipment look like?
The equipment itself isn’t out of the ordinary. Very small, ultra-fine cosmetic needles are used to inject sclerotherapy medicine into the veins being treated.
How does sclerotherapy work?
Sclerosing fluid is injected into the veins in question, which in turn irritates the vein lining. This causes the vein to close in on itself and seal shut. The sealed vein becomes scar tissue and is reabsorbed into the body.
How are sclerotherapy procedures performed?
This method of treatment is solely an outpatient procedure. Only the most invasive vein procedures routinely require hospital admission.
A doctor, in many cases a vein surgeon, uses ultrasound guidance to inject small amounts of a solution into the spider or varicose veins which basically dissolves the vein wall. The veins are then naturally reabsorbed. It is traditional to treat many veins during the same appointment, yet multiple treatments may still be necessary.
The procedure itself isn’t regarded as painful, it simply feels like a series of small needle sticks. When the medication is injected there is usually a burning sensation which quickly passes. These procedures usually only take about 45 minutes from when you walk into the front door to when you leave.
What does the sclerotherapy procedure feel like?
If comparatively large veins are being treated, you’ll probably feel a slight cramping sensation for a few minutes. After your procedure you’ll need to wear compression stockings, which fit tightly impart a feeling of pressure.
Side effects are rare and generally very mild. If the veins are larger, there may be hard, lumpy deposits felt inside the vein, which will reduce on their own in the months following the procedure. They aren’t permanent. Raised ridges can also form, and brown or red spots occasionally appear at the injection sites. This is rare, and once again will clear up in a matter of months. Some amount of bruising is perfectly normal, and will resolve in a matter of days or weeks.
As a rule of thumb, sclerotherapy treatments of small spider veins take about 3 to 6 weeks to show maximal improvement. Larger veins, basically small varicose veins less than 3 mm wide, take about 3 to 4 months. Results are typically excellent, yet follow up appointments are still necessary in a minority of case.
Risks v. Benefits:
Each session typically reduces the appearance of the treated veins by 50-80 percent.
• These are extremely minimal. Since the needle is breaking the skin, there’s a very low chance of infection, about 1 in 2,000. Such infections are generally minor.
• In even more rare cases, blood clots may form inside the veins being treated. Severe inflammation can result, which very rarely leaves minor scarring.
What are some limitations to this type of procedure?
Larger varicose veins don’t respond as well as small ones. Also some patients, less than 5%, fail to respond initially. When this happens another sclerosing solution is used, or another therapy such as laser skin resurfacing may be effective.
Pregnant and nursing women should not have sclerotherapy performed until about 3 months after giving birth.
In the case of slightly larger varicose veins, additional treatments, namely Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) or ambulatory phlebectomy (surgical removal) might be the better choice.
As with any type of medical treatment, it’s essential to tailor the treatment to each individual patient. Each situation is different.
SclerotherapyIn Pittsburgh and insurance coverage
This is a somewhat complicated question, and the answer is yes, sometimes. If a patient has true chronic medical symptoms, i.e. swelling, pain, feelings of fatigue and heaviness, and cramping, then it’s probably that insurance will cover the procedure. As always though, this is largely at the discretion of the insurance company in question.
When this type of procedure is done for purely cosmetic reasons, there’s virtually no chance that insurance will cover the bill. When determining insurance coverage, it’s best to have the staff at the office you choose to contact your insurance carrier to find out. Often insurance companies will require documentation such as the results of an ultrasound exam before they agree to pay.
Vein Care suggestions: Home care for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins:
• Take breaks throughout the day to alter your position. If you’ve been sitting then stand and walk around, if you’ve been on your feet then sit.
• Don’t sit for prolonged periods with the legs crossed. This dramatically increases the pressure in the lower leg and negatively impacts circulation.
• Elevate your feet when sitting if possible.
• Exercise regularly to improve overall circulation. Walking and other exercises which use the large muscles of the legs are the best.
• When pregnant, make sure to wear prescription support hosiery. These provide graded compression to the lower legs, helping to squeeze blood back towards the heart.
• Don’t wear overly tight socks.
Side effects of Sclerotherapy
Side effects are usually very minor, if present at all. A stinging sensation at the injection sites is common, since the medication itself is intentionally irritating. If any serious discomfort is felt tell your provider immediately.
After care for Sclerotherapy treatments
After care is equally simple. Compression bandages are applied to keep pressure on the injection sites and the treated veins. Normal activities, basically everything barring heavy lifting, can be taken up immediately. You’ll be able to drive home, so bringing someone along isn’t necessary.
Post treatment recovery for Sclerotherapy
Walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged. This aids in restoring proper circulation as well as inhibiting excessive clot formation. You’ll receive more specific instructions unique to your individual case after your procedure.
You’ll likely be encouraged to take the following measures to ensure a proper recovery:
• Avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun in the weeks following your sclerotherapy. Excess sun can further irritate the injection sites, and can cause unwanted pigment deposits to form. This is especially true for patients with naturally darker skin.
• Wear prescription compression hose for the first two weeks after treatment. These keep a level of pressure on the treated veins to ensure optimal healing.
Sclerotherapy is universally acknowledged to be extremely safe. It is a medical procedure, however, and all procedures entail some risk of side effects and complications. These can include
• Temporary burning or stinging sensations at the site of injection.
• Minimal, localized swelling of the injection sites. Occasionally a generalized swelling of the foot and ankle of the treated leg occurs and quickly subsides.
Hypertonic saline, when used in sclerotherapy injections, occasionally causes unique side effects in some patients.
• Raised, hive-like areas over the injection sites. These may itch, and tend to recede within a day or two at most.
• Raised ridge lines surrounding the treatments sites, or the appearance of pigmented spots. These are almost always temporary and are generally minor.
For patients who have darker skin tones, spots occur more frequently. They’re also more frequent when larger veins are being treated. These can last up to a year, but generally disappear completely in a matter of months, if they’re present at all.
• The formation of new clusters of bright red, extremely small vessels at the sites of injection.
In about 1/3 of sclerotherapy cases, the patient develops additional groups of small vessels, usually located on the thighs. These most often disappear on their own, without further treatment.
• Tiny ulcers around the injection sites. These may develop directly following treatment or several days later. This type of ulcer tends to be self-limiting, and poses no threat to the patient. This is due to the intentionally irritating and inflaming nature of the medications being used.
• Minor, temporary bruising
Some bruising after sclerotherapy treatments is considered normal. This is especially true in individuals which tend to bruise easily. These diminish and disappear entirely within a few weeks, much like other bruise.
• Minor allergic reactions to the sclerotherapy agent being used.
This is uncommon, and generally responds to treatment promptly. Alert your doctor if you believe you’re experiencing any kind of allergic reaction.
• Inflammation around the treatment areas
Some inflammation is normal after sclerotherapy. This usually doesn’t require treatment, although sometimes Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDS) such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen sodium are used.
Let your doctor know if you’re pregnant, or even if there’s a possibility that you are. If you’re pregnant, then sclerotherapy should wait until after your delivery. It’s important to discontinue over the counter pain medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen for 48 hours before your procedure. These Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs) can contribute to excessive bleeding, since they’re potent blood thinners.
On the day of your procedure, don’t put on lotion or shave. Wear loose, comfortable clothing, preferably shorts, and bring your compression stocking with you to the procedure.
Pregnancy is probably the time when vein problems such as varicose veins and spider veins occur the most. There’s also a large hereditary component, so if one or both parents have vein problems then it’s probable that their children will, too.
Pregnancy causes the release of many hormones, some of which cause the walls of all veins to become thinner and more permeable. At this point, the added pressure of the developing fetus dramatically increases the pressure in the legs, often resulting in vein disease such as varicose veins and spider veins. Typically seen are rather large, bluish, twisting veins found on the legs, but similar veins are also sometimes found in the groin and vaginal areas. When such veins occur in the rectal area, hemorrhoids are the result.
The good news is that many such vein problems resolve after the delivery of the baby. Oftentimes no treatment is necessary.