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Spider veins are small abnormal "thread" veins whereas varicose veins bulge above the skin. Spider veins appear on the skin as fine red or blue lines, about the thickness of a hair. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are not raised above the skin and do not have a bulging appearance.
For most people with spider veins, the most common and successful treatment available to them is a process known as sclerotherapy. The procedure involves using a very fine needle to inject the solution (the "sclerosant") into the spider veins. The sclerosant acts as an irritant to the inner wall of the visible blood vessel. The injection causes the spider vein to block and completely disappear from the surface of the skin over the next couple of weeks.
There are two common types of sclerosing solution used only for sclerotherapy for spider veins - these are Fibrovein and Polidocanol. For optimal results, ensure your doctor is using a solution that is designed specifically for sclerotherapy. Both of these solutions break down rapidly after initial contact with the vessel wall and therefore do not travel through the body as an active product. Some blood vessels are larger than others and may, therefore, need a slightly stronger concentration of the sclerosant. In all cases, the larger veins ("reticular" veins) are treated first then the spider veins treated at a follow-up treatment session usually about three to four weeks later.
In each sclerotherapy or spider vein treatment session, multiple veins are injected. Whilst this may sound very uncomfortable, most patients report very little pain or discomfort. Occasionally some of the injections may feel like a green ant bite and give slightly more discomfort for a couple of minutes. Following each treatment session, patients are required to wear a compression stocking for three to five days depending on the size of the spider veins being treated. The stocking assists in post-procedure comfort and reduces the chance of pigmentation and deep vein thrombosis.
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