In the realm of treating spider veins on the legs, sclerotherapy refers to the placement of various safe solutions that cause the vein to become irritated and eventually shrink down and gradually dissolve away…While such an approach has been used to treat hemorrhoids and large varicose veins for over 100 years, the treatment of spider veins began in the US in the early 1980′s.
In the early 1980′s, an article appeared in the National Enquirer about a lady dermatologist in Santa Cruz, California, who was one of the first physicians in the western US to be treating spider veins with sclerotherapy. Dr. Degnan was a resident with UC Davis when he read the article during some down time in the emergency room. He was immediately intrigued with this minimally invasive procedure that had the potential to allow a woman to fall back in love with her legs again. So he called the dermatologist who kindly agreed to allow Dr. Degnan to spend 2 days with her in Santa Cruz to learn the technique. After his tutorial with her, Dr. Degnan returned to his home hospital and offered to treat hundreds of nurses and patients at no cost. He soon became an expert at sclerotherapy and had taught dozens of other physicians how to perform it. While the technique of injecting the veins with tiny needles is not difficult to learn providing one has good hand-eye coordination and vision, experience is also necessary to know which of the various solution-options available is most appropriate for any given patient.
Depending on the amount of spider veins present on the legs, it usually requires an average of 2 treatments (with a range of 1 to 3 treatments) to get rid of the spider veins. The injected solution contains an anesthetic so along with the tiny needles used, the treatment is minimally uncomfortable. The patient wears compression stockings (or an Ace bandage if the area of the leg involved is small) and is advised to avoid strenuous leg exercising for 5 days afterwards. The veins start to disappear within weeks of the completed treatments and are usually predominately gone within1-4 months (sometimes longer in older women).
Note: Dr. Degnan is aware of light machines or “lasers” that can be used to treat spider veins. But if one goes on-line and does their homework towards the best treatment of spider veins, one can quickly determine that most physicians agree with Dr. Degnan that these machines are mainly “hype” and do not treat spider veins as effectively as sclerotherapy, and only add unnecessary cost to the patients bill.