Sclerotherapy is a commonly used procedure for removing spider veins (telangiectasias) from the legs. A sclerosing solution, usually concentrated salt water, is injected into the vein to close the vessel channel. The veins themselves are clear and are only visible because of the blood flowing inside. The solution inflames the blood vessel, making it swell and scar shut, therefore being no longer visible. Later this damaged vessel is absorbed by the body. Usually one injection is enough to eliminate a spider vein, but for more stubborn blood vessels two or three injections may be necessary.
To assist the veins in sealing shut, the treated areas are either wrapped with an ace bandage, secured with compression tape, or have support hose worn for several days. During this time there should be no unnecessary activity including exercise, sports, or most shopping. In many cases, there is a yellowish bruise at the injection sites which clears after a few weeks.
Most women treated with this procedure are happy with the results. However, with 1 to 2% of cases, complications including infection, ulceration, and scarring may develop. Also, clearing up spider veins does not ensure that others won’t arise in new areas on the legs.
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