Millions of men and women are bothered by two types of veins:
Varicose Veins – are large blue and green veins that protrude just under the skin. These veins have damaged weak valves and are sometimes painful.
Spider Veins – are those small yet unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins that most commonly appear on the thighs, calves & ankles.
Today, varicose and spider veins can be treated with a procedure called Sclerotherapy.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical office procedure that treats diseased veins: varicose veins and spider veins. Medication is injected into the vein using a small needle. The medication irritates the vein walls so that they stick together and are gradually reabsorbed by the body. Eliminating these diseased veins actually improves the circulation and makes the legs healthier.
What will happen in the first consultation?
Diagnosis starts with a careful history and physical exam. With large varicose veins diagnostic tests may be needed to evaluate the extent of disease. You will be asked questions regarding your past health, medication history and symptoms. Dr. Nasseri will examine your legs so it’s a good idea to bring a pair of shorts. You will have an opportunity to discuss the treatment and ask questions. If the veins are small, flat spider veins, then treatment can often begin on the first day. The treatment itself takes about 20 minutes. The number of treatments depends on the severity of the problem. You will also be counseled on prevention and the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle as well as wearing compression stockings to ensure the vein problems do not recur.
What causes vein problems?
Veins carry blood from the legs back to the heart through one-way valve systems. When there is a weakness in the vein wall or a faulty valve, the valve stretches and no longer closes properly. The veins become filled with blood that can’t flow back to the heart. As the vein stretches, depending on its size, it appears under the skin as either a varicose vein or a spider vein. Varicose veins often lead to pain, swelling, discoloration, ulcers, blood clots and other problems.
What types of vein problems does the Healthy Skin Centre treat? We treat spider veins and varicose veins with sclerotherapy. Other vein problems such as chronically swollen legs, recurrent infections, thrombophlebitis, and pregnancy-related problems need a special assessment.
How many treatments are required?
Depending on the type and severity of the varicose veins, the average number of treatments is anywhere between 3 and 5, however as many as 10 treatments may be required. The larger vessels only require a few (3 or 4) well placed needles with a stronger solution. They must be treated first. The smaller spider veins may require many points of injection with a weaker solution.
Can I go back to my regular activities after treatment? Discomfort after treatment is rare. Most patients leave our office and go directly back to work. We recommend that patients walk for 20-30 minutes after each treatment.
Is it covered by insurance?
Varicose vein treatments are covered under MSP, however spider veins are considered cosmetic and therefore do not qualify for extended health coverage. We recommend Sigvaris compression stockings which are often included in private medical insurance plans. When you make an appointment with our certified fitter, we will be able to tell you how many pairs of stockings your plan covers per year.
What are the most common side effects?
All medical treatments entail a certain degree of risk. This will be discussed during you first visit and consent to treatment must be signed before the injections are started. Fortunately, when injections are undertaken by well trained professionals, complications rarely arise.
What should I do before a treatment?
Do not take ibuprofen, aspirin or other arthritis medication for 48 hours before and after your treatment because these medications can increase bruising. Do not drink alcohol or smoke for 48 hour before and after your treatment as this may impair healing. Shower and wash your legs thoroughly with an antibacterial soap. Do not shave your legs the day of your appointment. Do not apply any cream or lotion to your legs, including tanning cream. Bring loose fitting shorts to wear during the treatment. Eat a light meal or snack 1 – 1½ hours before your appointment. If you sometimes get lightheaded during medical procedures, consider bringing someone to drive you home.
What can I do to prevent varicose veins from coming back after a treatment?
Varicose veins are a chronic illness and are subject to recurrence. At Healthy Skin Centre, we use the most current methods to effectively treat visible veins and try to prevent future veins from appearing. In addition, there are several steps that you can take in order to prevent recurrence.
1. Compression stockings are highly recommended. Gone are the days of ugly compression stockings. They now come in a variety of colors and styles from Truly Transparent to Ribbed Stockings, which look like pantyhose or dress socks respectively. Use them when your legs ache, for long trips and for prolonged walking or standing. Dr. Nasseri will prescribe the correct compression strength for you and then you will have the opportunity to meet with our certified fitter. Compression stockings increase the effectiveness of treatment by 50% and help to prevent recurrences.
2. Wear comfortable shoes with no more than a 1 – 2 inch heel.
3. Exercise regularly. Avoid standing for long periods and if you do, flex your muscles and sit or lie down and put your legs up when you get the chance.
4. Don’t wear girdles or knee-highs. They compress the veins and prevent the flow of blood back to the heart.
5. Don’t cross your legs. We all cross our legs, and unfortunately, this also impedes the flow of blood back up and ultimately leads to spider veins.
How do I get more information?
Please call our medspa at any time to book in for your free consultation. We have brochures, patient education literature, articles and many other resources we’d be happy to share with you.