Both are popular varicose and spider vein treatments. Essentially, both vein treatments disrupt blood flow in the diseased vein causing the vessel to break down and disappear.
- Laser therapy uses a non-toxic light and is minimally invasive.
- Sclerotherapy uses a sclerosant medicine injected into the diseased vein.
Both forms of vein therapy have different benefits. Knowing these benefits will help you find which treatment is right for you. Set up a consultation with your doctor if you have any questions related to laser and sclerotherapy. These treatments are available from Tennessee board-certified vascular surgeons at the Vein Centre in Franklin, Mount Juliet, and Nashville locations.
BENEFITS OF SCLEROTHERAPY
- Performed cosmetically
- Immediate pain relief
- Completed in less than an hour
- No anesthesia
- Smaller needles for less discomfort
BENEFITS OF LASER THERAPY
- Minimally invasive
- Minimal recovery time
- Immediate return to activities
- High success rate
UNDERSTANDING BOTH SPIDER VEIN TREATMENTS
Sclerotherapy is a treatment that injects a saline solution into the diseased blood vessels. It can be used to treat both spider veins and varicose veins.
Once the medicine enters the diseased vein, it works to irritate and collapse the vein wall. Once the vein wall has collapsed, the blood is sent to other parts of the body.
Sclero treatments can involve multiple injections per treatment, depending on the patient’s needs. However, patients often report less discomfort with sclerotherapy than with other spider vein treatments. The sclerosant medicine is typically a saline solution.
If the diseased spider or varicose veins are larger, the sclerosant can be administered as a foam.
This spider vein treatment is even less invasive than sclerotherapy. There are no needles involved, instead, unwanted veins are removed with a high frequency laser. The laser is applied directly to the treatment area for a minimally invasive procedure.
Laser therapy usually requires multiple visits to complete, but patients report seeing results about four weeks after the first treatment. You may want to choose laser therapy if you have an aversion to needles. This is also a good treatment option for patients who may be allergic the medicine used in sclerotherapy.
RECOVERY FROM PROCEDURE
After sclerotherapy, patients are required to wear prescription-strength compression stockings for several days. Usually, patients can stop wearing the stockings during the day after 48 hours. The stockings should still be worn at night.
We have noticed that patients who use compression stockings tend to have better results. The compression promotes healthy blood flow, and limits swelling. If your legs are sore at all after treatment, these stocking will also help reduce pain.
There is no need for compression stockings after laser therapy and you can resume your daily activities immediately. You will need to protect the treated area from the sun for a few weeks after your procedure. Doing so will prevent dark spots from developing.
Depending on your treatment plan, a follow-up laser therapy session should be scheduled. Most laser therapy plans allow for 4-6 weeks between appointments.
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS OF SPIDER VEIN TREATMENT?
Common side effects of sclerotherapy are minor, and usually fade within a few days. Patients may experience some itching or bruising around the treatment site. Another side effect may be raised red areas where the veins were injected, and should disappear in a matter of days.
If this happens, ibuprofen or another pain reliever can be taken to reduce inflammation.
Rarer side effects include a hardening or lumping of the treated veins. Local skin discoloration and smaller veins growing around the treatment site are also less common side effects.
If you notice these symptoms, do not be alarmed, they are natural physical reactions and will fade in time. While they are harmless, these side effects can take a while to heal. Therefore, if you notice these side effects, you can expect them to fade within a few months. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions about the side effects of spider vein treatments.
Patients should be aware that the laser treatment may cause side effects such as skin burns or mild nerve damage. Skin discoloration may also occur for patients with darker skin, but will usually fade in time. Finally, in rare cases, blood clots may form in surface or deep veins. Consult with your doctor if you have any questions about the side effects of laser therapy.
HOW EFFECTIVE ARE SPIDER VEIN TREATMENTS?
When it comes to the effectiveness of sclerotherapy, it is not like a dry erase board as some people claim. In order to see the best results, you will need one or two more sclero treatment sessions.
One of our vascular surgeons, Dr. John Keyser, recommends beginning sclerotherapy in the fall. Since this treatment is not a quick fix, starting in the fall allows you enough time to get rid of unwanted spider veins.
Be aware that your spider veins may look worse for a few days to a few weeks after treatment. Sclerotherapy is a process, and so it will take time for the spider veins to break down and disappear.
Another advantage of beginning sclerotherapy in the fall is the cooler weather. During these cooler months, the compression stockings you have to wear after treatment will be more comfortable. Because the stockings are quite thick, they can get hot and uncomfortable during warmer months.
How effective is laser vein removal in the legs?
From our years of experience, it depends mostly on the patient. We have seen some patients that have great results and some patients that did not. The reason for this is the thickness of the skin around the treatment area. The legs typically have a thicker layer of dermis that protects the spider veins from the laser’s light.
Some patients may have a thinner layer or dermis, or their spider veins may be closer to the surface of the skin. Laser therapy will tend to work better in this instance.
Should either of these treatments fail, you may have problems with your deeper vein system. At the Vein Centre, we have seen that treating the root cause of vein problems brings the best results. Leaving vein problems untreated can lead to serious issues later on.
If you have questions about vascular surgery after undergoing vein therapy, our vein experts can help you find answers.
IS THERE A WAY TO PREVENT SPIDER VEINS?
The best way to prevent spider veins is by taking care of yourself. Exercise, in particular, can promote healthy blood flow and healthy a healthy body weight. People who smoke also tend to develop vein problems later on. You can read more about preventing spider veins, varicose veins, other vein problems on our blog.
ABOUT THE VEIN CENTRE OF NASHVILLE
If you’re considering your treatment options to remove unwanted spider veins, come visit the Vein Centre in Franklin, Mt. Juliet, or Belle Meade Tennessee. With over 70 years of combined vascular surgery experience, we bring leading service to Music City and Middle Tennessee.
At the Vein Centre Nashville offices, we also offer treatment for varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis. Our long term goal is to help patients with pain management by diagnosing and treating the root of their vein disease.
To learn more about your treatment options for spider and varicose veins, we have provided a free digital consultation for you here on our website. You can also set up an in-office consultation to talk with a vascular surgeon face-to-face.
Healthy veins don’t have to be a thing of the past. Come visit us at a Vein Centre near you!