General Question

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

How many (minor) spider veins can 3ml of sclerotherapy treat?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (2534 points ) November 8th, 2011

I just purchased a 3ml treatment of sclerotherapy injections at a local clinic. I’m a healthy 22 year old with mild spider veins all over my thighs and one slightly larger cluster on the back of my thigh. Will this be enough to treat all or most of them? I’m starting to wonder if I should have bought two but they acted like that was only for severe cases which I don’t think I have…yet.

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9 Answers

gorillapaws's avatar

What type of sclerosant are they using? Be sure you’re going with a reputable practitioner because there is a chance you could have long term staining from the procedure (as I understand it, it’s caused by the iron in the blood being left behind). With mild spiders, usually one session is enough, but may need repeat sessions down the road.

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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Hi GorillaPaws. I’m having Asclera administered at the NuVisions clinic in Manhattan. It will be administered by an MD. I think Asclera is the good stuff…right?

gorillapaws's avatar

Yes, Polidocanol tends to have the best results. Other sclerosants can be useful in different situations, but for mild spider veins, poly is the way to go. Hope you get great results, and you might want to ask about compression stockings while you are there. Wear them regularly to help reduce the chances of getting more in the future. Also, moderate exercise, maintaing a healthy weight and elevating at night are all good strategies. I am not a doctor, but I work for an MD who specializes in treating venous disorders (I put together patient education material and presentations for the practice).

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@gorillapaws Thanks for your response. I was going to ask them about the stockings…but would I have to wear them every day for the rest of my life? :( I’m doing this to be a little sexier and that doesn’t sound very sexy at all. haha

I am a moderate exerciser and maintain a healthy weight. Sadly both my mother and my grandmother who are quite slender have terrible legs so I’m thinking this won’t be my last treatment anyway. I’m pretty bummed about this condition because I’ve started modeling professionally and don’t feel comfortable booking lingerie and swimwear work specifically because of the mottled/veiny appearance of my thighs.

Is there any treatment available besides compression hose/weight management to preemptively prevent spider veins from forming? I’m even considering adopting children instead of having my own biological ones just to prevent my legs from being completely (and painfully) destroyed!

gorillapaws's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace I think the more you wear them the better you’re protected, (especially in situations where you’re standing for long periods of time) but it’s not like you can’t ever take them off. They make “sportier” versions of compression stockings now, so that could help (especially on days when you’re wearing long pants and it doesn’t matter). As far as prevention goes, it sounds like you’re doing the right kinds of things, but with the family history you have, you’re probably still highly at risk for Venous Reflux Disease. The treatments for this are much better than 15 years ago when they used to strip them under general anestesia in the operating room of the hospital. Now it’s a fairly painless office procedure that’s covered by insurance.

You’ll have to make your own decisions about childbirth of course, but it is a major risk factor. It’s also quite possible that you could still develop them even if you do everything you can to try to prevent it, which means denying yourself the experience of bearing children might be for naught. It’s not anything you need to decide right away. Speak with the MD’s about conservative therapies and best practices. I think you’re doing the right things. I hope your heredity doesn’t catch up with you, and that after treatment you have excellent results. Best wishes. Feel free to post more questions if you’ve got them.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@gorillapaws. I really want to find out if I have Venous Reflux but according to my mother (an RN) it’s unlikely it would come up on a doppler at this age and therefore insurance wouldn’t cover it. Luckily I don’t have any varicose veins yet and my mom said she didn’t start getting them until her pregnancies finally blew her out.

This is really depressing me and quite frankly it’s starting to really affect my self esteem. I’m a pretty young woman but I hate showing my legs to anyone because I’m afraid they’ll be disgusted. (One of my ex boyfriends was especially cruel about this condition) My boyfriend loves me anyway and thinks I’m overreacting and wasting my money but he doesn’t understand what it’s like to ride the subway everyday and always look at other women’s flawless legs and compare them to my old lady legs. I’m too young for this! I feel like I must be the only 22 year old in the world who has this problem. Sometimes I even resent my mother for passing this on to me even though I know that it’s wrong.

If they found Venous Reflux how would they treat it and is there any way insurance would cover it?

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Also my mother has Deep Vein Thrombosis. (I think thats the same thing as reflux) It causes her severe pain. I’m terrified that I’m doomed to the same thing if I don’t take action soon…

gorillapaws's avatar

Be sure to mention that your mom has a DVT to your doctor. I would also communicate how strong your feelings are on the subject. I can tell you that varicose and spider veins are very common, and we’ve had girls as young as 16 in our office (she had severe problems so it wasn’t just a cosmetic thing). Of course you shouldn’t put so much of your self-esteem on something as insignificant as a few veins, and focus on all of the great things in your life. It sounds like you’ve found a boyfriend who cares about what’s really important, and I’ll bet many of the women on the subway whose legs you’re jealous of, would probably love to be in your situation.

Your mother may be right about reflux not being detectable at your age, it’s the kind of problem that builds over time as the valves of the superficial leg veins stretch and break. pregnancy exacerbates this problem because the excess weight combined with hormonal changes can greatly accelerate the problem.

Treatment is done with a catheter that is inserted into the knee and pushed through the refluxing vein until it’s up in the thigh at the saphenofemoral junction. Several injections of local numbing anesthetic is injected along the course of the vein (like at the dentist). The catheter is turned on and it heats up to a temperature that kills the damaged vein as the catheter is slowly pulled out (the patient feels nothing). There is an ultrasound scan of the entire procedure, so they know everything is going properly. Finally you are placed in compression stockings for a week, and you walk out of the office. It’s called the VNUS Closure procedure, and we’ve had really success with our patients using it.

So, if it were me, I would take things as they come, and if your legs start to show symptoms of reflux, then get an ultrasound doppler study and cross that bridge when you come to it.

DVTs can be very serious and can lead to a fatal pulmonary embolism. Be sure to tell your MD about your family history of DVTs.

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