There are many things about aging that can be annoying, but not many are more so than the unwanted clusters of purple, blue, and red squiggly lines under the skin of our ankles, calves, and thighs. Spider veins.
Spider veins get their name due to their resemblance to a spider web, and they typically aren’t painful. But when we see them show up one day, they make you want to put away the shorts, sundresses, and swimsuits and cover up. That’s no way to live in sunny Glendale!
Dr. Sammy Zakhary uses sclerotherapy to remove your spider veins. The procedures are quick and easy to take.
What is Sclerotherapy?
The most effective way to remove unsightly spider veins is sclerotherapy. This simple treatment isn’t exactly new — it was developed in the 1930s — but it remains the best method to erase your spider veins. Here’s how Dr. Zakhary does it.
A sclerosant solution, consisting of either hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulphate, is injected directly into the vein with a very fine needle. This solution irritates the vein wall, causing it to collapse and close off the vein. This instantly diminishes the appearance of the vein. Over the next few weeks any remaining signs vanish as the body absorbs the now-unused vein. Any blood that was routed through the vein is instantly rerouted to an adjacent, healthy vein.
Dr. Zakhary has extensive experience with spider veins, and he feels sclerotherapy is the best solution to remove them. He has tried using laser energy to damage and close off the veins but doesn’t feel the process is as targeted or effective as sclerotherapy.
What Causes Spider Veins to Form?
Dr. Zakhary often has patients ask why they suddenly have these unsightly purple and blue veins on their legs. Here’s why.
Veins are the highways that return de-oxygenated blood to the heart. In the legs, veins have to push uphill fighting gravity the entire way. Our muscles and tissues act to help push the blood through the veins, but as we age these tissues lose some of their strength, plus the vein walls become weaker. This combination allows the blood to sometimes backup and pool. This pushes the vein wall outward, making the vein visible through the outer skin. This is how spider veins form.
Other factors that can affect the formation of these veins are heredity, hormonal changes such as those during pregnancy, weight fluctuations, and occupations that require long periods of standing or sitting.
What are the Benefits of Sclerotherapy?
Our patients are surprised at how simple these treatments with Dr. Zakhary are.
A session takes just a few minutes and a series of spider veins can be treated. Once the sclerosant is injected, the veins instantly become far less noticeable, often fully disappearing. Otherwise, they are diminished, and the body then fully removes them over time.
This is a simple way to remove these unsightly purple, blue, and red lines from your ankles, calves, and thighs.
"Dr. Zakhary was VERY thorough with my mother, he explained everything in a way that she could understand, and she felt like he is the first doctor that took the time to understand and really evaluate and address the actual issue! 10/10 would recommend!" - J.M.
Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a really easy treatment and it doesn’t have any restrictions. The sclerosant solutions are well tolerated and very effective. So, if you have spider veins, you’re likely a great candidate for treatment with Dr. Zakhary.
The one exception would be if you have varicose veins, not spider veins. Varicose veins form for the same reasons as spider veins, but they are larger. They often push up the skin if closer to the surface, making a raised pathway on the surface. To close these veins off would require too much sclerosant. Laser ablation is a better treatment for varicose veins.
What Happens During my Sclerotherapy Session?
The area of the targeted veins is first locally anesthetized. Dr. Zakhary then uses a tiny needle filled with the sclerosant. He injects the solution directly into the unwanted veins. This solution irritates the vein wall, coagulating the blood in the vein, causing the wall to collapse and the vein to close off. These sessions usually take 30 minutes or less.
What Happens after my Sclerotherapy Session?
Dr. Zakhary recommends that you wear compression hose during waking hours for one to two weeks (depending on the number of spider veins you had treated in your session). This compression improves the body’s ability to immediately start absorbing these closed-off veins.
Otherwise, walking and moderate exercise is fine immediately after your procedure. You should avoid any really strenuous exercise for about one week, however.
Are there Risks with Sclerotherapy?
As mentioned above, sclerotherapy has been around since the 1930s. It has been used to treat tens of millions of spider veins, and it continues to be the treatment method of choice. There is a very low risk of reactions to the sclerosant solution.
After your session, you may have some redness at the injection sites and possibly some minor irritation, but this passes quickly. There may be some slight bruising from the injections, but this resolves within a week or so.
How Soon Will I See My Results?
Immediately after treatment, the vein visibly diminishes. The color will change from a dark blue or purple to light red, and the vein will resemble a slight cat scratch. Over the next 4-6 weeks, the body will absorb the closed-off vein and it will disappear.