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    Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

    Medium and large spider veins on the surface of the legs, feet, arms or hands are best treated with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy involves the direct injection of a sclerosing agent into the spider vein using a very fine needle. Basically, this makes the vein contract and collapse.

    The procedure takes 5 to 60 minutes and costs $100 to $400 a session, depending on how many veins are treated. Sclerotherapy is typically done in a doctor’s office with little or no anesthesia. Using high-intensity light, the physician or a specially trained nurse examines the area to be treated and maps out the veins. Next, the physician or nurse cleanses the area with an antiseptic. Then, holding the skin tight, the physician or nurse injects the sclerosing agent directly into the affected veins. This procedure may be performed multiple times to achieve the desired results.

    After treatement, the physician may require you to wear compression stockings or ace bandages. You’ll also be encouraged to walk often to prevent blood clots from forming in the deep vein system. Heavy exercise and sitting or standing for long periods of time should be avoided, however.

    Some sclerosing agents have caused allergic reactions, so your physician will ask about allergies before beginning the procedure. Sclerotherapy also has some potential side effects. These include stinging or cramping at the injection site, raised patches of skin, and small skin ulcers or bruises. Brown spots or lines, matting and skin discoloration may also occur but typically disappear within few days. Taking over-the-counter pain relievers and applying heat relieves post-procedure pain.

    Sometimes, blood gets trapped and thickens or clots in the treated veins. If this happens, your physician can drain the blood or remove the clots. But this usually isn't necessary, because eventually your body will absorb them naturally. In rare cases, significant skin ulcers can occur. You should call your physician immediately if this should happen.

    Sources: National Women’s Health Information Center, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.