It’s the season for skirts, shorts and swimsuits, but if you have spider veins, you may be reluctant to bare your legs this summer. Sclerotherapy, now offered at Vinings Surgery Center, is a safe, effective and virtually painless way to eliminate this annoying (though not at all uncommon) cosmetic issue. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, at least half of all women develop small clusters of red, blue or purple veins that appear on the thighs, calves and ankles.
In some women, spider veins become noticeable in their early 20s. For others, the veins may not become obvious until they reach their 40s. Men get spider veins, too. However, usually they are concealed by hair growth on the leg.
A number of factors may contribute to the development of spider veins in the legs, including:
• Hormonal shifts
• Weight gain
• Occupations or activities that require prolonged sitting or standing, such as running, professional nursing, etc.
Sclerotherapy is the injection of a solution into each affected vein, causing it to collapse and fade. It can be performed on people of any age and is a good option for you if:
• You are bothered by spider veins anywhere on your body.
• You have a positive outlook and realistic goals for your spider vein treatment.
• You are committed to following your plastic surgeon’s prescribed course of treatment.
Nurse injector Carmen Wagner administers sclerotherapy at Vinings Surgery Center. She has been with the center for six years, and also administers fillers and Botox treatment. According to Wagner, sclerotherapy can be a more effective and longer-lasting vein solution than laser treatments, since it gets to the source of the spider veins and eradicates them completely. Wagner says she loves working with patients to provide sclerotherapy because “it makes such a big difference in their lives and how they see themselves.”
Sclerotherapy requires no anesthesia and is usually performed in an outpatient setting. Two or more sessions, each lasting about 20 to 30 minutes, Wagner says, are usually required to obtain optimal results. 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.
After treatment, you may be instructed to wear support hose to help your legs heal. You may feel some cramping in your legs for the first day or two after treatment. This discomfort is temporary and usually doesn’t require prescription medication. You will be given specific instructions that may include: How to care for your legs following treatment, medications to apply or take orally to aid healing and reduce the risk of infection, and when to return for a follow-up appointment.
For more information or to make an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Colgrove, call (770) 955-9000 or visit www.colgrove.com.
Compiled using information from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.