Our Dedicated Texas Podiatrist Discusses Sclerotherapy Treatment and How it May Help Your Spider Veins

If you develop spider veins on your legs or ankles, you may feel they’re simply a cosmetic issue and not important enough for medical attention. But some people experience pain and discomfort due to spider veins and need help a doctor’s help. Treatment for spider veins

The compassionate, skilled podiatrists at Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists understand that our patients care about having legs and feet that look and feel healthy. For some of our patients, that includes the removal of spider veins and/or varicose veins. Schedule an appointment to talk to our educated podiatric team about sclerotherapy and whether it’s right for your needs.

While there are a range of solutions that can reduce or eliminate spider veins, from basic lifestyle changes to invasive surgery, the most common and popular procedure is sclerotherapy, a minimally invasive set of injections that helps reduce and often removes spider veins. Our dedicated podiatrists explain sclerotherapy as a treatment for spider veins and how they might work for you.

What Are Spider Veins and Who Develops Them?

Spider veins are small, visible blood vessels that appear close to the surface of the skin, often resembling a web or tree branch pattern. They can be red, blue, or purple in color. When they present on the lower body, they’re often found on the legs and feet, often on the thighs, the backs of the knees, calves, and ankles. Spider veins are caused by a small blood vessel abnormality known as telangiectasia, in which weakened values or elevated pressure causes blood to pool or flow backward.

Some people don’t experience pain from their spider veins; however, others do have pain, itching, and burning, especially after prolonged sitting or standing.

Many people develop spider veins as they age, but there are other common factors that contribute to this condition, including the following:

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Sex and hormones
  • Occupation
  • Smoking and smoke exposure
  • Sun and sun exposure
  • Weight and obesity
  • Past injuries or trauma

Sclerotherapy for Spider Vein Removal

Lifestyle changes such as exercise, stopping smoking, weight loss, and sun protection can improve blood circulation and promote the strength and health of your blood vessels, thus minimizing the development of spider veins. But these changes will likely not make the spider veins you already have disappear. For those who seek treatment for their spider veins, sclerotherapy is a popular option for a number of reasons, including:

  • It’s effective
  • It’s minimally invasive
  • It’s an out-patient procedure
  • It doesn’t require general anesthesia
  • It has lasting results
  • It has a low risk of side effects

The Sclerotherapy Procedure and Recovery

The procedure for sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical solution into the spider vein with a very fine needle. This solution irritates the lining of your blood vessel, causes it to expand, then stick together to cause scarring. This causes your vein to close off and the vein to look and feel better over time.  

The sclerotherapy procedure takes between 10 minutes to an hour, depending on how many spider veins you have to treat. Patients can return to their regular activities on the same day.

Veins will fade over the course of a few weeks, with some taking as long as a month. Some patients may need multiple treatments to eliminate a satisfactory number of veins or to get some veins to fade completely. While treated veins will generally permanently disappear, the procedure will not prevent new spider veins from forming elsewhere.

Sclerotherapy not only treats the appearance of spider veins but also treats the pain and discomfort associated with the condition.

Is Sclerotherapy Covered by Health Insurance?

The coverage of any medical procedure depends on the details of your health insurance policy, and the best way to know if you have coverage is to speak with your insurance company and your doctor. It’s possible that the procedure will be fully covered, partially covered, covered after a deductible, or covered except for a co-pay. Typically, you may have coverage if the procedure is medically necessary because your spider veins are causing your pain. It may not be covered if you want the procedure for purely cosmetic reasons. 

Risks Associated With Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy has very few serious complications. Very few patients report side effects at the injection site that include redness, bruising, hives, or small sores—all of which resolve within a few days. In very rare cases, more serious complications have been reported, which include inflammation, blood clotting, and allergic reactions. Report any side effects or concerns to your podiatrist immediately.

Deciding if Sclerotherapy Is Right for You

If you want to learn more about treating your spider veins, contact our Texas podiatrist to schedule an appointment. Our doctor will review your medical history, examine your spider veins, and discuss your treatment goals. Together, you can make a plan that makes the most sense for your medical needs. Sclerotherapy might not be for you if you are pregnant, if you have certain preexisting medical conditions, if you have certain blood clotting conditions, or if you have specific allergies.

For many people, however, sclerotherapy is the best option that eliminates the discomfort and appearance of spider veins in a way that is minimally invasive, effective, and safe.