For most patients, spider veins are a cosmetic rather than a medical issue. The gold standard of treatment for eliminating them is the use of sclerosing agents. Vein specialists can also destroy some small and mid-size varicose veins using ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy vein treatment.
How Sclerotherapy Works
Ultrasound is also an important tool for examining a patient and confirming that a sclerosing agent would be effective. For vein destruction, the physician injects a sclerosing agent, also known as a sclerosant, into each targeted vessel.
This substance irritates vein walls, causing the vessel to scar, close, and ultimately disappear. Neighboring veins assume its former circulatory duties. The number of procedures and the number of injections per session vary. Both depend on the size and the number of vessels to eliminate.
What Patients Can Expect from a Treatment
The path toward destruction of spider or certain varicose veins begins with a consultation with a vein doctor. This specialist conducts a physical exam, evaluates the individual’s medical history, and orders any helpful tests. Once the physician has determined that the patient is a good candidate for this outpatient procedure, the staff will schedule it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, preparation is fairly simple. Most patients prefer to wear loose, comfortable clothing such as a pair of shorts. When the targeted area is a leg, an individual should avoid shaving it or putting any lotion on it for at least 24 hours before treatment.
After the vein clinic staff helps the patient into the proper position on a table, they systematically clean each targeted area. The individual lies on his back with his legs somewhat elevated. Using a very fine needle, the physician then injects the sclerosing agent into each abnormal vein.
Many sclerosants now contain local anesthetic. This makes the use of general anesthesia unnecessary.
After treating each vein, the physician massages the skin around it. Providing compression helps disperse the sclerosing agent and prevent blood from entering the treated area.
The staff helps patients get up and begin to walk as soon as they can after treatment. Physical movement is important in preventing blood clots. Most individuals report very little discomfort during the procedure beyond some stinging or cramping at needle insertion.
Patients consider treatment with a sclerosing agent convenient because of how little time the treatment takes and its short recovery period. Typically, another adult provides a ride home after this procedure. Most patients pick up their normal daily routine the same day, except for any strenuous activity. The physician will specify how long it is necessary to wear compression stockings.
The Radiological Society of North America, Inc. reports that temporary side effects might include brown discolorations, bruises, or areas that are red and raised. Vein doctors can destroy as many as 80-percent of targeted vessels in one session.
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