One of the unfortunate milestones of aging is the appearance of tiny clusters of red, purple, and blue squiggly lines on our thighs, calves, and ankles. These appear in weblike arrangements, hence the name — spider veins.
While spider veins aren’t painful in most cases, they are unsightly. Houston Dermatologist Dr. Esta Kronberg has extensive experience using sclerotherapy to treat spider veins and small varicose veins.
What Are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are small superficial clusters of veins that are close to the skin surface. Because they are carrying dark, de-oxygenated blood, they are visible on the skin surface.
They are common in women as they age. There is a genetic component to developing spider veins, as well.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are larger than spider veins. They tend to develop as a single vein, rather than the clusters of spider veins. Varicose veins can be large enough that they will push up the skin, creating a raised path on the surface.
Varicose veins can sometimes be painful. They often are facilitated in their development by occupations that require the person to be on their feet for long periods of time.
What Causes Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?
As we age, our tissues tend to slacken across the body. The tissues around our veins help to support the veins and push blood through them. This support is important in the legs because the veins, whose job is to return de-oxygenated blood back to the heart, have an uphill climb the entire way. With age, the veins can become less rigid. Plus, the veins have valves in them to prevent backflow, and these can begin to malfunction.
The result of all of these factors is that blood can pool in places, usually near the valves. When this happens, veins near the skin surface can become visible. The smaller, clustered veins are spider veins. The larger veins that can even push up the skin surface are known as varicose veins.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Believe it or not, the best treatment for getting rid of spider veins was invented in the 1930s — sclerotherapy. 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. Kronberg has extensive experience with spider veins, and she feels sclerotherapy is the best solution to remove them. She 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.
Vein Removal Before & After Photos
Who are the Ideal Candidates for Sclerotherapy Treatment?
Sclerotherapy is a simple vein treatment procedure, and it doesn’t really have any restrictions. Reactions to the sclerosant solution are virtually nonexistent.
Sclerotherapy does not work on larger varicose veins, the veins that push the skin upward. Too much sclerosant would be required. These veins must be treated with laser or radiofrequency ablation or with manual vein stripping.
How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
During sclerotherapy treatment, Houston vein doctor Esta Kronberg injects a very special saline solution into the tiny vessels. This solution is natural to the body and not a foreign chemical. The veins will fade away over 2 to 3 months.
How Many Treatments Will I Need to Remove Varicose or Spider Veins?
Dr. Kronberg’s extensive experience with spider and varicose veins ensures the best outcomes. In most cases, a single treatment is all that is needed to remove a cluster of spider or varicose veins.
During your consultation, Dr. Kronberg will evaluate the specific problem area and discuss the most effective treatment plan to eliminate the appearance of the veins. At the time of evaluation she will be able to provide an approximate number of sessions for treatment.
What to Expect After Sclerotherapy Treatment?
After the sclerotherapy treatment, Houston vein doctor Esta Kronberg recommends that you wear a compression stocking during waking hours for 1 – 2 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 1 week, however.
How Long Do The Results of Sclerotherapy Last?
The spider veins treated by Dr. Kronberg are absorbed by the body and the results last for years. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t develop new spider veins. This relates to a defect in the deeper veins of your legs. The valves in your deeper leg veins are a little sluggish.
Is Sclerotherapy Painful?
Houston vein specialist Dr. Kronberg uses a very tiny needle for these procedures. The sensation is akin to a pinprick, but is not painful. Each injection is very shallow (because the veins are at the skin surface) and short in duration.
Are There Risks/Side Effects to Sclerotherapy?
As mentioned above, sclerotherapy vein treatment 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. The bruising is typically gone by the time you stop wearing the stocking.
“Best sclerotherapy. Been other places but her treatment worked the best, hurts the least and best results. She is funny. We talk about all kinds of things while doing it to distract you and before you know it’s over.” – Ashley *Individual results may vary.
Schedule a Sclerotherapy Consultation
Dr. Kronberg has been specialized in Houston for Sclerotherapy since 1985 to treat spider and varicose veins. She has been honored as the Top Doctor; ‘Best of the Best’ by her peers, the Facial Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeons of the United States, for treating spider veins with sclerotherapy. In addition she has appeared on NBC, ABC, and CNN as the expert in this field.
If you have signs of spider and varicose veins and would like to learn more about sclerotherapy, call (713) 771-8941 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kronberg at her office in Houston, TX.