Sclerotherapy is generally a very safe and effective treatment resulting in significant improvement of unwanted small leg veins. The leg veins most suitable to this treatment are usually red, very tiny, and can form complicated networks. Patients with a prior history of pulmonary embolus, deep vein phlebitis, those taking blood thinners, or those requiring antibiotics prior to dental procedures should notify us of this prior to considering therapy.
On the day of the procedure do not apply cosmetics or moisturizing lotions to the legs. Do not take aspirin, or aspirin containing products for one week and Ibuprofen (Advil, Aleve, Nuprin, Motrin) for five days prior to treatment. The leg veins or “spider veins” will be injected with a solution using a very fine needle. Normally, a small needle prick sensation is typically what one feels and is usually well tolerated. If you desire, a topical anesthetic may be applied 30 minutes before the procedure if necessary. Sometimes a test site will be performed on a small area first to see how it works on you. Usually multiple injections will be required and the amount will vary depending on the size of the area. Over the following several weeks observe this area and decide whether you would like to continue with more extensive treatments. It is important to keep in mind, however, that several treatments to each area are usually necessary for significant resolution to occur. Normally treatment sessions are performed once monthly until sufficient improvement results. Make sure when you schedule your treatment to tell the receptionist the appointment is for sclerotherapy, for this will allow her to allot sufficient time. Typical sessions last 30-60 minutes.
Compressions or ace bandages to the treated areas are recommended following the treatment. Avoid strenous exercise for at least 2 days. Some mild swelling, cramping, or discoloration may occur for a short period after the treatment. It is important that you contact the office if persistent pain, swelling, or bruising develops.
At your complimentary consultation, Dr. Tang will be discuss the fee for each treatment, which will vary upon the size of the area and the total time it will take to complete each treatment. Because insurance carriers consider this cosmetic, we do not bill insurance for sclerotherapy under any circumstances. The average patient will usually require two to four treatments to obtain maximal improvement although this is variable. Please do not hesitate to ask any further questions you may have concerning your treatment.
For patients who are not candidates for sclerotherapy, another technique involving lasers can be used. The IPL (Intense Pulse Light) laser targets the red pigments found in the hemoglobulin, which is the molecule that carries oxygen found in all red blood cells. These red pigments absorb the light energy much more intensely then the surrounding skin whereby converting the light energy into heat. This heat shrinks the blood vessels until they disappear. Normally, 2-6 IPL treatments are required every 2 weeks. There is minimal to no discomfort and there is no dowtime. Patients who have fairly dark skin are not candidates for this procedure.