Nearly anyone can suffer from spider veins. These are small veins that usually appear on the face or legs. The name comes from the way the veins look, which resembles the webs of a spider. Though they are usually blue or red, they can develop a deep purple color, too. Spider veins can be embarrassing for those who have them. Some men and women even find that they don’t want to wear shorts around other people because of their bulging veins. Foam sclerotherapy is a treatment that can help anyone suffering from spider veins. Learn more about this treatment below.
What Causes Spider Veins?
Once you see spider veins, you may want to look at what causes the condition. The main cause is damage to the vein itself. Veins are responsible for moving blood from different parts of the body to the heart. Healthy veins prevent blood from flowing back through. When the vein suffers damage, it cannot stop the blood flow. That blood can become stagnant inside the vein, which causes it to bulge. As the condition worsens, you’ll notice a change in the vein’s appearance on the surface of the skin.
What Is Foam Sclerotherapy?
The biggest question that you might have is, “What is foam sclerotherapy?” This is a treatment designed to change the way spider veins look. The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence chose foam sclerotherapy as the best treatment for spider veins. It also assists in the treatment of varicose veins. The procedure is only suitable for those who tried other treatments like laser and saw no success as well as those who do not have varicose (bulging veins).
This procedure requires the use of foam injections. Health care professionals mix a liquid made from chemicals with air to create a foam that they inject. The doctor will identify the veins the patient wants to target and inject the solution directly into each one. As the foam moves through the vein, it injures the vein walls and promotes closure. The chemical used in the compound kills the cells living in the vein’s lining, which causes the vein to break down. The body will then absorb the remains of the vein.
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
Most patients found that vein sclerotherapy took only 30 minutes per session. It can take up to 45 minutes if the patient has more veins in need of help. To get a better idea of how long it will take, patients can talk with a medical professional.
Before the Procedure
Before a patient receives foam sclerotherapy treatment, a technician will use an ultrasound to scan their body and identify the veins that are suitable for the procedure. The technician will mark those veins and let the patient know if they are a good candidate for sclerotherapy or if other treatments are best. They’ll also need to meet with the professional who will do the treatment. This serves as the consultation and gives the patient time to ask any questions that they may have. The consultation also requires that they sign a consent form to show that they agree to the procedure.
How It Works
When a patient chooses foam sclerotherapy for spider veins, the practitioner fills a needle with the foam mixture and inserts it into the appropriate vein. They use a butterfly needle that causes little discomfort or pain. This procedure also requires the use of ultrasound equipment that the practitioner uses to ensure that the needle reaches the right vein and that the foam removes the old blood. The equipment also allows them to view the veins in real-time as they disappear. These injections work better on smaller veins than they do on larger veins.
Patients shouldn’t choose foam sclerotherapy if they cannot commit to multiple appointments. Though some notice results after one session, it can take several sessions before patients no longer see spider veins. Patients should wait for a minimum of four weeks between appointments. This ensures that their body has time to heal and also gives the vein cells time to die. At the end of the session, patients can make an appointment for their next session.
How Do You Know Who’s a Good Candidate?
Health care professionals will determine if a patient is a good candidate for vein sclerotherapy. They will do a physical exam and take a medical history to find out information like:
- How long the patient has suffered from spider veins
- If the patient has tried other treatments
- Whether the patient has a family history of spider veins
During the physical exam, medical professionals may take photographs of the patient’s legs. This allows the facility to have copies for its records and copies for the patient’s insurance provider. Once the medical professional sends the photos to the patient’s provider, they’ll find out whether their policy covers the procedure. Patients should make sure that they wear shorts or bring a pair with them to give the practitioner easy access to their legs. They may need to wear compression stockings, too.
Does Sclerotherapy Hurt?
It’s normal for patients to wonder if foam sclerotherapy treatment hurts, but it depends on their pain threshold and how they feel about needles. The procedure involves a long and thin needle with a sharp tip. Some patients find that they feel nothing when the needle pierces their skin, but others notice some mild discomfort. Even though they’ll likely feel the injection, the pain goes away within a few seconds. Patients may feel some slight itching during the procedure, too.
After getting foam sclerotherapy for spider veins, patients receive a list that details the aftercare instructions to follow at home. This includes wearing compression stockings and getting some exercise. They need to wear the stockings for a minimum of two weeks to prevent pain and swelling in their legs. Many patients find that they want to take it easy for at least one day after sclerotherapy, but they may want to avoid exercise and certain activities for 28 hours or longer. Two days after the therapy, patients should begin taking short walks. They can also resume their other activities.
PracticalCME offers training for those who want to practice sclerotherapy and other treatments. Register today and start learning tonight.