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A common method of treating spider veins in the legs and ankles is with sclerotherapy. In this treatment, sclerosing solution is injected into each affected vein, causing the vein to collapse and fade from view.

Although everyone is different, you can generally expect to receive one injection for every inch of spider vein that is treated. Bright light and magnification may be used to ensure maximum precision while the skin is held taut to inject sclerosing solution. A cotton ball and compression tape is often applied to each injection site as it is finished.

The decision to have spider vein treatment is extremely personal and you’ll have to decide if the benefits will achieve your goals and if the risks and potential complications are acceptable.

Stefanie Magnant R.N. and/or Dr. Sasmor will explain in detail the risks associated with treatment. You will be asked to sign consent forms to ensure that you fully understand the procedure you will undergo and any risks and potential complications.

SclerotherapyWhat are superficial leg veins?
Superficial leg veins, also called spider veins or telangiectasias, are dilated, small surface vessels. They are pink, red, or purple and can occur on the thighs, lower legs, or ankles as single vessels or in clusters.

What causes superficial leg veins?
The cause is unknown, but they are more common in females. A hereditary tendency is one of the most significant factors. Pregnancy, hormones, obesity, trauma, and long periods of standing or sitting may cause vessels to appear or become more prominent. Exercise, weight loss, and support hose may help limit the number of new vessels, but will not prevent the development of new vessels.

What exactly is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is the injection of a sclerosing solution (hypertonic saline, laureth-9, or others) into the dilated vessels. This causes the lining of the vessels to swell and close off resulting in either a lighter color and improvement in appearance or complete disappearance of the vessels.

SclerotherapyWhat can I expect during the injections?
Ten to fifteen seconds of mild discomfort or burning at the site of injection may be experienced. Some patients will experience a local muscle cramp lasting a few minutes. This most often occurs with treatment of vessels around the ankles. The injected veins disappear for a few seconds as the blood is pushed out by the solution, but when the blood flow returns they reappear. Since many of the vessels interconnect, one injection may eradicate several dozen vessels at one time.

What are the contraindications?
Pregnancy, lactating, advanced vascular disease, crippling osteoarthritis, anticoagulant therapy, rheumatoid arthritis, corticosteroid use, hyper-keloid formation, severe circulatory problems, severe obesity, acute superficial thrombophlebitis, acute deep venous thrombophlebitis.

What are side effects and risks associated with Sclerotherapy?
There are no serious side effects from the procedure.  However, temporary side effects may occur:

  • Bruising and swelling: Local swelling and bruising may occur at the site of needle penetration and along the vessel. Swelling resolves within 24 hours, bruising fades slowly.
  • Tenderness: Tenderness may occur at the injection site and along the vessel. This may persist for several days.
  • Urticaria and itching: Immediately following injection a hive-like reaction with itching may develop at the site which usually subsides within 30 minutes.
  • Cramping: Following injection of the ankle or calf, a “charley horse”, type of muscle cramp may occur. Walking after treatment will alleviate this discomfort.
  • Hyperpigmentation: Spider veins may rupture during the treatment process leaving linear brown streaks, quarter-sized areas or small brown spots which resolve within six to nine months. Hyperpigmentation can be minimized by avoiding iron supplements, NSAIDS, UV rays, and wearing post sclerotheraphy compression stockings.
  • Telangiectatic mats: A network of very red or red-purple veins may develop near the injection site during the course of treatment.  Resolution takes place spontaneously or after repeated treatments.  These mats may respond slowly and are difficult to treat.
  • Ulceration: A small ulcer may develop at the injection site which will crust and heal in one to two weeks. There is a risk of scar formation from the process.  However, the risk of this happening if very low, less than 1% of the time.

sclerotherapyPost treatment care instructions

To see if Riversong's sclerotherapy treatment is right for you, inquire at our office today by calling 978-462-8300.


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Newburyport Office
Anna Jaques Hospital
Suite 3-4A
21 Highland Avenue
Newburyport, MA 01950
P 978.462.8300
F 978.462.8301

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