Millions of women shy away from wearing skirts, shorts or bathing suits because they fear showing unsightly leg veins. For some, these veins can even be painful. Some patients describe them as itchy, throbbing, burning and generally uncomfortable. These symptoms can sometimes be suppressed by wearing support hose, but that is not always a tolerable option. The blood vessels do not resolve on their own and therefore treatment can be helpful. If you want to dare to bare those legs again, or rid yourself of the discomfort, then you may want to learn more about sclerotherapy and laser therapy.
What Causes Vein Disease?
Approximately 80 million Americans experience some type of vein disease, with women being the majority of those who seek treatment for it.
There are several types of visible leg veins. Spider veins are the fine red blood vessels that occur on the thighs and lower legs, usually in clusters, that often appear as a large bruise. Reticular veins are the medium sized veins which are just under the skin and appear bluish/greenish in color. Varicose veins are larger and darker and usually look like they are bulging. Varicose veins are produced when small valves in veins cease to work and cause the blood returning to the heart to flow in the wrong direction, causing the veins to multiply to accommodate for the extra blood, and occasionally, to bulge.
These veins generally begin to appear on women after the age of 30, but can occur earlier due to factors such as heredity, pregnancy, obesity, sitting or standing for long periods of time and hormonal influences.
Although these veins are not actually a health problem, they can lead women to feel self-conscious about their legs.
I have received 3-4 treatments of the sclerotherapy and am very happy with the results. Prior to the treatments, a good friend of mine asked me how I had gotten the big purple “bruise” on the back of my leg. You guessed it, not a bruise but my veins. Since the treatments, no “bruise” and no sight of those ugly, hated veins. The procedure was easy and the staff is warm and caring. I would recommend it to anyone.
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What Is Laser Therapy For Leg Veins
Laser therapy is one of two methods to treat spider veins in the legs. Pulses of light energy directed at the veins cause them to fade and disappear. The laser used at Laser Esthetica, the Cutera YAG laser, is effective in treating superficial red spider veins and deeper reticular veins. During treatment, a specialist will apply the laser to your skin over the veins. The laser energy causes the spider veins to coagulate and ultimately shrink. This procedure generally does not require any sort of sedative, pain medication or injections of anesthetic, though you are likely to feel mild discomfort similar to having a small rubber band snap against your skin.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy involved injections of a specialized sclerosing agent that collapses the veins and lets them fade away. Generally this procedure involves a series of treatments spaced about four to six weeks apart to achieve optimum results. Additional treatments may be needed thereafter for maintenance, as it is common for additional veins to develop over time.
What Is The Treatment Like And What Can I Expect?
A typical sclerotherapy sessions takes about 30 minutes, during which a series of 20-40 injections are put into the unwanted veins. After the treatment, we recommend wearing tight fitting support hose (which you will purchase prior to treatment and bring to the the appointment) for a period of two weeks. Walking is encouraged during this period.
Immediately after treatment, the spider veins will be darker and more visible, as treated veins usually look worse before they begin to look better. However, the spider veins will fade over the next two to six weeks. After each treatment, you will notice a 30-40% improvement in the treated veins. An average of three treatments is required at three month intervals to produce the optimum results.
What Type Of Solution Is Injected In My Veins?
At Laser Esthetica, we use Sotradecol or Polidocanol (Asclera) solution for injection, which are both FDA-approved solutions for leg vein treatment.
What Are The Complications And/Or Adverse Side Effects?
Patients can have hives and/or itching after the procedure. Over the counter Benadryl can be used to relieve these symptoms.
Occasionally, sclerotherapy treatments can cause the development of brown discoloration on the skin, which could take a long time to fade. It is also possible to develop matting, where a group of tiny red blood vessels arise around the treatment site. This can sometimes be fixed with the IPL (FotoFacial) device.
Can I Prevent Varicose And Spider Veins?
Regular exercise can help prevent varicose veins by improving leg muscles and circulation. It is best not to sit cross legged and to elevate the legs during rest. Avoid standing in one place for extended periods of time. If your job requires you to stand for long periods of time, consider wearing support stockings or doing standing exercises such as going up and down on your tip-toes.
What Can Be Done About The Larger Varicose Veins?
There are huge developments in treating the deeper varicose veins using radiofrequency and laser devices. Larger varicose veins can also be removed with a procedure called ambulatory phlebectomy. If you have deeper varicose veins and are in need of one of these treatments, Laser Esthetica can refer you to an expert who can perform these procedures.
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*Individual results may vary. Consult with Dr. Nalini Prasad to see if you are a good candidate.