As a dermatologist, I don’t treat those great big varicose veins – I do know where to send you though, to get them fixed.
I treat the tiny little thread veins, or spider veins on the surface of the skin of the leg. These little blue vessels are very disfiguring and often will make a huge difference to a woman as to whether she can wear shorts or a shorter skirt during the summer months – if she can get those nasty little veins fixed!
They’re commonly caused by 4 things:
- Female hormones,
- Having children,
- Genetics, and
- Trauma, such as bumping into things especially if you’re a bit clumsy in the gym.
Whatever the cause of those little spider leg veins we can get rid of them. There are 2 main options… laser therapy, and Sclerotherapy.
Everyone thinks laser must be the answer because laser is new and laser is modern etc… Etc…This is one situation where laser therapy is not number one; Sclerotherapy is still king as far as those little spider leg veins are concerned. The reason is because the laser is:
- more expensive,
- more painful, and
- less effective.
So, why do I have a leg vein laser at all? Well, the answer is often after doing my injections – the sclerotherapy – there are a few vessels left over that won’t respond or I can’t get my needle into them and THEN the laser comes into its own, and it’s superb!
With sclerotherapy, we use a tiny needle – we’re injecting high up in the skin often above the nerve endings, so you don’t feel much pain at all. I inject a solution of sugar and salt; or, in medical terms dextrose and saline. It’s the same as you see on any TV program like ER or House – except that it’s more concentrated than your blood. When this solution hits the lining of those little vessels it makes the lining swell and when small blood vessels swell on the inside, and one side kisses the other side, the vein basically kisses itself goodbye.
It’s not 100% effective, we normally see 60-70% of vessels clearing, but it IS very safe as a procedure; very safe indeed! I’ve been doing this many years and we see very good results. It does take a series of treatments… most people, on average; have to come in 3 times, rarely, 4 times to clear most of those spider leg veins.