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After Sclerotherapy Spider Vein Treatment Care Instructions

Caring for Your Legs After Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

Getting sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins can help reduce their appearance and improve comfort. However proper aftercare is crucial for optimal results and healing. This in-depth guide covers all the important instructions for looking after your legs after spider vein sclerotherapy.

After Sclerotherapy Spider Vein Treatment Care Instructions

Sclerotherapy is a popular minimally invasive treatment for spider veins, especially on the legs. It involves injecting a solution directly into the damaged vein, causing it to scar and fade. Over 3 million sclerotherapy procedures are performed annually for spider vein treatment.

While the procedure itself is relatively quick, lasting 15-30 minutes, the aftercare regimen is vital for success. Following your doctor’s post-sclerotherapy instructions carefully reduces the risks of complications and helps ensure the best cosmetic improvement.

Proper aftercare also speeds up your recovery time and helps ensure the treated spider veins fully collapse and disappear. Key aftercare instructions include wearing compression stockings, avoiding strenuous activity, keeping legs elevated, and watching for signs of complications. With the right post-procedure care, sclerotherapy can safely and effectively erase spider veins and restore confidence in your legs’ appearance.

What Is Spider Veins?

Spider veins, also known as telangiectasias, are tiny, thin veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. They have a web-like or branch-like appearance with a reddish, blue, or purple color.

Some key facts about spider veins:

  • They occur when the valves inside the veins become damaged or weak, allowing blood to pool and the veins to swell.
  • They are most common on the legs and feet but can appear on the face or other areas of the body as well.
  • Spider veins range in size from tiny threads just under the skin to larger veins up to 3 mm wide.
  • They do not protrude significantly above the surface like bulging varicose veins.
  • Spider veins are often asymptomatic but can cause mild discomfort, itching, leg heaviness or aching.
  • The exact cause is unknown, but factors like genetics, hormonal changes, weight gain, pregnancy, and sun exposure increase risk.
  • Treatments include sclerotherapy injections, laser therapy, micro-phlebectomy, and topical chemical treatments.

While usually harmless, many people seek treatment for spider veins due to their unsightly appearance or mild symptoms. Catching them early provides the best treatment results.

Common Causes Of Spider Vein Appearance

Here are some of the most common causes and risk factors for the development of spider veins:

  • Genetics – Spider veins often run in families. Having a parent or sibling with prominent veins increases your risk.
  • Hormones – Estrogen fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can trigger new spider veins. Taking birth control pills also raises risk.
  • Weight gain – Extra weight puts added pressure on the veins in the legs, causing damage that leads to spider veins.
  • Age – Spider veins become more common as we get older due to weakening vein valves and connective tissues.
  • Sun exposure – Years of unprotected UV damage causes vein walls to weaken and expand.
  • Leg injuries – Trauma that damages the veins can result in new spider veins forming during the healing process.
  • Prolonged standing – Jobs or activities requiring long hours on your feet steadily increase venous pressure.
  • Lack of movement – Sitting or lying down for long periods prevents efficient blood circulation in the legs.

While you can’t eliminate all risk factors, steps like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, elevating your legs, and wearing compression stockings can help prevent further spider vein formation.

Care Instructions After Sclerotherapy Spider Vein Treatment

After getting sclerotherapy, be sure to follow these doctor-recommended tips for at least 1 week:

Compression

  • Wear prescribed medical compression stockings continuously, removing them only to bathe. This prevents bleeding and seals the injected veins.
  • Alternative options like bandages or ace wraps may be used, especially for larger varicose veins treated.
  • Compression helps minimize bruising, and inflammation and improves results. Keep legs elevated when not moving.

Activity

  • Refrain from intensive exercise, aerobics, or weight-lifting which can reopen treated veins.
  • Avoid long periods of standing or sitting for 3-4 days. Take regular short walks.
  • No hot baths, saunas, hot tubs, or sunbathing for 1 week post-treatment. Heat can worsen swelling and discomfort.

Medication

  • Use over-the-counter pain relievers as needed for discomfort. Oral antihistamines like Claritin help reduce swelling and itching.
  • Apply topical hydrocortisone cream to any itchy areas. Arnica gel helps with bruising and inflammation.
  • Take antibiotics if prescribed to prevent infection after larger varicose vein treatment.

Daily Care

  • Cleanse your legs gently with mild soap and lukewarm water. Avoid rubbing or massaging legs. Pat dry softly.
  • Watch for signs of infection – increasing pain, heat, swollen lymph nodes, redness, drainage, or fever. Report any of these immediately.
  • Bruising, swelling, and tenderness may worsen for 7-10 days before improving. This is normal.

Follow-up visits allow your doctor to check your progress and response. Multiple treatments may be required for the best spider vein removal results.

What to Expect During the Healing Process

Understanding the typical healing stages helps ensure proper spider vein aftercare:

Immediately After Treatment

  • Treated veins appear darker and more visible as the solution progresses through the veins.
  • Legs are wrapped with compression bandages or socks that must be worn continuously after leaving the clinic.
  • Mild to moderate pain, swelling, and redness are common. Discomfort medication can help manage this.

1-3 Days After

  • Bruising around treated veins becomes more apparent as blood is reabsorbed.
  • Swelling may increase and be most pronounced at the ankles. Elevation helps minimize this.
  • Small knots under the skin may be felt. These are trapped blood coagulations that dissolve over time.

1 Week After

  • Deeper bruising shifts to purple and yellowish tones as it starts fading.
  • Swelling should be resolving but may persist longer with larger varicose veins.
  • Discomfort and tenderness are reduced, requiring less pain medication.

2 Weeks After

  • Most swelling and bruising resolves. Some surface spider veins reappear temporarily.
  • Compression stockings can usually be discontinued unless some swelling remains.
  • Treated spider veins look lighter and less noticeable. Final results are seen in 4-6 weeks.

Potential Side Effects and Complications

While generally safe, sclerotherapy does carry some risks of side effects:

  • Allergic reaction to the sclerosing solution – itching, rash, anaphylaxis.
  • Skin ulceration – small sores or blisters around the injection sites.
  • Hyperpigmentation – darkening of the skin that usually fades over time.
  • Capillary matting – clusters of tiny blood vessels appear around treated veins. Often resolves.
  • Deep vein thrombosis – blood clots in deep veins are rare but serious if occur.
  • Skin necrosis – tissue damage from solution leaking into nearby tissues. Uncommon.
  • Migraines – can be triggered by sclerotherapy in those prone to headaches.
  • Phlebitis – inflammation inside a treated vein. Causes hardening and pain.

Report any unusual side effects that concern you to your doctor promptly. Seek emergency care for signs of anaphylaxis, ulceration, or leg swelling/pain.

Improving and Maintaining Treatment Results

Follow these tips for keeping spider veins away long-term after sclerotherapy:

  • Wear medical compression stockings regularly if you have ongoing swelling or leg heaviness.
  • Maintain a healthy weight to avoid increased pressure on leg veins.
  • Exercise regularly to improve circulation, but avoid overdoing high-impact activities.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting or standing in one position. Take breaks to move and stretch your legs.
  • Keep your legs elevated on pillows or cushions when relaxing or sleeping if possible.
  • Avoid extreme heat like hot baths, sunbathing, or saunas which dilate veins.
  • Eat a vein-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber and low in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Stay hydrated.
  • Consider additional spider vein treatment for any remaining or new problem veins.

See your doctor annually to check for any new spider veins that should be treated before they worsen. Addressing them early provides the best results.

FAQ

How long should compression stockings be worn after sclerotherapy?

Most doctors recommend wearing compression stockings continuously, except when bathing, for at least 5-7 days after treatment. Some may advise continuing compression for up to 2 weeks if swelling persists.

Can I resume normal exercise right after sclerotherapy?

No, normal exercise should be avoided for at least 48 hours. Refrain from aerobics, running, weight lifting, or other strenuous activity for 1 week. Only gentle movement is advised like short walks.

Is it normal for spider veins to reappear shortly after sclerotherapy?

It’s common to still see some spider veins after 2 weeks. The veins are still collapsing and look darker before they fully fade. By 6 weeks, results are complete. Notify your doctor if the problem of veins persists.

How soon after treatment can I resume wearing regular socks/stockings?

Medical compression socks or bandages must be worn for 5-14 days post-treatment. After this period, you can return to wearing your normal socks or lightweight stockings.

How many sclerotherapy sessions are usually needed?

Most patients require 2-5 treatment sessions spaced 4-6 weeks apart for optimal spider vein removal. The number varies based on the extent of veins treated and your response.

Last Words

Sclerotherapy offers an effective minimally invasive approach to diminishing spider veins and improving the appearance of your legs. But diligently following your doctor’s post-treatment instructions speeds healing and helps achieve optimal, longer-lasting improvements. Wear compression consistently, avoid strenuous activity, keep your legs elevated, and watch for signs of complications. With proper aftercare, sclerotherapy can effectively remove stubborn spider veins.

 

Selina

My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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