Varicose veins are simply not a cosmetic issue. Varicose veins and venous reflux disease can lead to significant physical problems. These include heaviness, fatigue, aches and pains, and cramps in the legs. These can also lead to swollen legs. In more severe cases, these can cause skin changes such as dermatitis/ eczema and ulcers affecting the legs, besides causing recurrent infections.
Introduction to Sclerotherapy
Varicose veins and spider veins are a common condition in Singapore. While anyone can develop varicose veins and spider veins, the prevalence is higher in women. Other risk factors include age (due to weakening veins), family history of varicose or spider veins, pregnancy, obesity, and occupation (standing or sitting for too long). Varicose veins and spider veins do not primarily cause symptoms. In symptomatic cases, people often express pain and discomfort, including swelling, itching, and feeling tired in the legs.
Sclerotherapy is one of the treatment options for varicose veins and spider veins. If you’re affected by varicose or spider veins and are considering exploring this treatment option, continue reading for more information.
Differences Between Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Both varicose veins and spider veins refer to visible superficial veins, but the conditions differ.
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins (with a skin-coloured, blue, or red appearance) that cause the skin to bulge. They mainly occur in the legs (calves, near ankles and feet, and thighs) but can develop anywhere in the body. Varicose veins can cause pain and aches, itchy skin, burning sensation, muscle cramps, or leg swelling. If untreated, serious complications such as deep vein thrombosis, inflammatory skin conditions, venous diseases, and ulcers can arise.
What do varicose veins include? Understand the symptoms of varicose veins, different types, causes, and more in our helpful blog post and video on varicose veins. It may involve several factors such as family history, hormone levels, and high blood pressure to develop varicose veins. Don’t let these blood clots last long term and become complications of varicose veins.
Spider veins resemble spider webs, arising from tiny capillaries near the skin’s surface and are smaller than varicose veins. They have a red or blue appearance, and although visible under the skin, they do not bulge. Spider veins can occur on the legs or face and may be warning signs of underlying vein health issues.
Spiders veins might be a cosmetic concern but they can also lead to serious health issues. Learn the types, symptoms, and treatment options in our other post to learn more about spider veins types, symptoms, and treatment.
How Do Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Develop?
Veins carry deoxygenated blood to the heart. Healthy veins have valves that ensure blood flows in one direction and does not flow back. Varicose veins and spider veins arise when the valves weaken, causing blood to flow back and accumulate in the vein. As the blood builds up, pressure increases, making the veins visible.
Varicose veins and spider veins are more prevalent in women than men. Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of developing the conditions, and so are people with obesity. Women are more likely to get varicose veins resulting from a unique blend of genetic, hormonal, and lifestyle factors. Learn about the distinct risk factors that women face that increase their susceptibility to varicose veins.
Having a family history of varicose veins and spider veins can also heighten your risk, as well as working at a job that requires you to sit or stand for lengthy periods. Also, as people age, veins weaken, predisposing them to the conditions.
Even if you do not experience painful and uncomfortable varicose veins and spider veins, treatment is always recommended both for cosmetic reasons and to prevent the risk of more serious health problems. Sclerotherapy is one of the treatment options available for spider veins and mild forms of varicose veins.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. It involves injecting a concentrated saline solution (chemical) directly into the varicose or spider vein using a needle, causing its walls to stick together. Once the walls shut, blood flow stops to the damaged vein and flows to the healthy veins. The vein then scars and disappears after some weeks.
Sclerotherapy is a brief procedure that can take under half an hour to an hour, depending on the area under treatment. During the procedure, the doctor inspects the area to be treated and then injects the solution while you’re lying down. Immediately after the injection, the region is wrapped with compression bandages, or you wear compression stockings to keep blood from flowing in.
Sclerotherapy does not require anesthesia as it’s minimally invasive and can be done at the doctor’s clinic. Generally, the procedure is not painful. You only experience a pinprick sensation from the injection, but it should disappear in seconds.
Patients can return to work the next day. Spider veins disappear within 3-6 weeks, while varicose veins take longer, usually 3-4 months. You may need several sessions for effective results – weeks or months apart, as advised by the doctor.
Advantages of Sclerotherapy
There are several benefits of sclerotherapy, including:
- Relief from pain and discomfort
- Enhanced leg appearance
- Minimally invasive procedure
- Quick recovery
- Minimal downtime
- Highly effective
Will Sclerotherapy Remove Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Permanently?
Yes. Sclerotherapy is recommended for the treatment of spider veins and small varicose veins. Research suggests sclerotherapy can remove problematic veins in 75-90% of cases with multiple treatments. The sclerosing agent (medication) closes the vein by damaging the vein wall. The vein will collapse, restoring normal blood flow by rerouting blood to a healthy vein. The treated area becomes scar tissue, and your body will clear it away naturally. However, the presence of risk factors may still trigger the formation of new varicose veins and spider veins.
Visit the Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic for Sclerotherapy Treatment Options
Varicose veins and spider veins are not just unsightly but can interfere with your life due to pain and discomfort and increase the risk of other health conditions if untreated. If you’re looking for a specialized varicose veins clinic in Singapore, reach out to us. At Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic, we offer comprehensive treatment of complex multisystem surgical and medical conditions with our trusted and compassionate spider veins and varicose veins specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja. Contact us to arrange your appointment.
From family and internal medicine to specialist, Dr. Manish Taneja is the best in the field.
As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist, Dr Manish Taneja looks after peripheral vascular disease, aneurysms, dialysis interventions, venous diseases like deep vein thrombosis, and varicose veins/spider veins/reticular veins. He is also competent in performing newer endovascular procedures such as uterine artery embolization, prostate artery embolization, genicular artery embolization, and erectile dysfunction interventions.
Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.
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Keep Varicose Veins and Spider Veins at Bay
If your legs feel sore persistently, achy when standing long periods, or maybe you notice blue or purple veins even bulging in the area, chances are these symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins could lead to other serious venous diseases such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI), or Leg Swelling due to increased pressure forming larger blood clots over time. Varicose veins are fully treatable with minimally invasive procedures and treatments offering minimal downtime and quick recovery preventing further complications. Long term effects of untreated varicose veins can hinder your daily life and impact your health.
The Supreme Vascular and Interventional Clinic in Singapore is here to diagnose and treat varicose veins smoothening patients’ experience to find relief and comfort. As a vascular and interventional radiology specialist based in Singapore, Dr. Manish Taneja looks after a spectrum of venous diseases, peripheral vascular malformations, and peripheral arterial disease. Dr. Manish Taneja also has extensive experience in performing all vascular interventions, non-vascular interventions and interventional oncology procedures.