Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical procedure with little downtime for patients. The procedure is relatively inexpensive compared to surgery or laser treatments, but most importantly, sclerotherapy is an effective treatment of both small leg veins and spider veins.
These are usually near the surface of the skin and maybe red, blue or purple in colour. They are usually less than 1-2 mm in diameter and are not regarded as a serious medical condition.
These are larger in diameter and deeper beneath the skin- they are usually blue- green in colour and may cause pain and aching of the legs. These veins are best treated by vascular surgeons as they maybe a sign of leg pump failure.
Sclerotherapy is the most effective treatment for small leg veins and spider veins. This procedure has been conducted since the 1930s and still remains as the most effective procedure to treat small to medium sized veins.
Using a very fine needle, hypertonic saline (sterile concentrated salt water) is injected into the vein. This in turn causes swelling of the vein wall, and eventually shuts down the vein over several weeks, making it less noticeable or even invisible.
There is usually minimal discomfort during microsclerotherapy injections due to the size of the needle and the superficial injection technique.
The solutions used may differ in strength slightly depending on the size of the vessel to be injected. Your physician will decide which solution is best for your particular case. In the majority of cases we use Hypertonic Saline- concentrated salt water as a sclerosant solution.
Following injections, a dressing may be taped over the treated area, and often a special bandage and compression stocking is applied which may be worn for several days to help assist shrinkage of the thread veins.
A single blood vessel may have to be injected more than once, depending on its size.
Repeat injection sessions can be scheduled one week later, but it is better to wait several weeks between treatments.
In practice, most patients require between 2 and 6 treatments at 2 to 4 week intervals.
It is common for around 75 percent or more of your veins to vanish, but you should be aware that 100 percent disappearance of all veins is rare.
The whole treatment should usually take no longer than half an hour or so – depending on how many veins require treatment.
You can normally drive immediately and go about your usual daily activities following this treatment.
Some pain or burning at the injection site may occur following injections, bruising may often occur, however improves over several days.
For a month or so, the vessels may appear more prominent. The injection sites look like insect bites, and may occasionally itch. The veins gradually begin to fade and continue to improve for up to 8 weeks. After this time, a brownish discolouration of the skin may continue and may take many months to fade away.
Complications following microsclerotherapy are very rare, but the solution can sometimes escape from the veins and cause inflammation in the skin surrounding the treated area. There is also a small risk of the development of tiny ulcers, which may leave a small pink or white scar on healing.
Can be performed on leg veins, however in the majority of cases, sclerotherapy is more effective. For larger veins, endovenous laser ablation maybe used.
Surgery maybe needed for larger varicose veins. Dermatologists do NOT perform vein surgery – this procedure is performed by Vascular surgeons, specialised in this field.
The total treatment cost will depend on the extent of treatment and the number of sessions required. Your treating health practitioner will give you a guide during the consultation.
Sclerotherapy of small veins/ spider veins is considered as a cosmetic procedure and a Medicare rebate/ Private Health insurance rebate DOES NOT apply.
As the doctors in Westside Dermatology are Specialist, a referral from a GP is advisable – this enables patients to claim a percentage of the consultation fee from Medicare. Call us directly on (07) 3871 3437 to make a booking or enquire about the referral process.