Leave the Spiders to the Movies, Not Your Legs
As we age, we all have them — those small red, purple, and blue blood vessels that show through the skin on our legs, chest, and face. Their name comes from their twisting, turning paths — spider veins. And, while spiders make good fodder for comic books and movies, even Peter Parker will want to get rid of his spider veins when he gets a little older.
Fortunately for you, Dr. Reichel is well versed in schlerotherapy, a fancy word for the treatment and ultimate removal of spider veins. The treatment will let you show off your legs again and lighten your makeup needs on your face.
What contributes to the development of spider veins?
There are a variety of factors that contribute to a person developing spider veins:
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause
- Occupations that require a good deal of standing
- Use of birth control pills
- A history of blood clots
- Tight clothing around the abdomen
Treating spider veins
The standard approach to treating spider veins hasn’t changed since the 1930s. High-concentration salt solution (Dr. Reichel also uses Asclera) is injected directly into the targeted spider vein. This sclerosing solution irritates the lining of the veins, causing them to close off and turn into scar tissue. This eventually fades away and the vein is no longer visible. The procedure is fast, but usually requires from two to four treatments to remove the veins you seek to eliminate. Dr. Reichel also has her patients wear compression stockings for 24 hours after a schlerotherapy session.
Want to get rid of your spider veins? Give us a call at 206-859-5777 to make an appointment.
Sclerotherapy treatment with Dr. Reichel
Hi Cyleste. I would be happy to see you for consult for sclerotherapy. It is one of my favorite treatments. In our clinic, we treat all the vessels that we see in one treatment session - so we don't time the session, or limit it to a certain # of syringes (unless we need to go over the maximum for safety - then we have to break it into two sessions). This doesn't usually happen. We use both high concentration salt solution (hypertonic saline), and Asclera. I do like to have patients wear compression stockings for 24 hours after the treatment. It can take more than one treatment session (usually 2-3). We space them at least 4 weeks apart. Sclerotherapy is very safe and affective. I do prefer it over the lasers that can be used to treat spider veins on the legs. Since I trained extensively in leg vein treatment, I will also examine you to be sure that your vessels are not true vericose veins. If you have large rope-like vericose veins, the best treatment is to have a diagnostic ultrasound to see if your greater saphenous vein is not competent. If this is the case, then the treatment of choice is endovenous laser ablation (EVLT).
I will have my receptionist, Mellissa, call you. Or, you can call us at 206-859-5777 to schedule an appointment. Be sure to mention realself and the consult fee is waived.
Thanks. I look forward to seeing you.
Jennifer Reichel MD
Director, Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center
11011 Meridian Avenue N Suite 102
Seattle WA 98133
Dear Dr. Reichel;
I'm actually not a U.S. citizen, but I do travel to the U.S. sometimes. I hope you can provide with some information about your KTP-laser. I suffer from a lot of fine red vessels on my legs, which actually appeared after sclerotherapy (matting). Unfortunately, they appear all over my legs and they have been there since 2004. I always cover my legs because of these and just recently I decided to treat these. I had some treatments with the YAG-laser, but the vessels didn't respond well. Now I'm looking to treat this either by thermocoagulation with the Veinwave system or again by laser - but with the KTP laser. Can you please tell me how the results are with the KTP-laser on the legs? Do these red fine vessels respond well on the legs? Thank you so much. Best regards.
Thank you for your question. I did extensive training on leg vein treatments in my cosmetic fellowship. In my experience, treating hundreds of patients, sclerotherapy remains the "gold standard" (the best) treatment for small red vessels on the legs. I use very fine needles, and am able to inject even into the smallest of "matting" vessels. It almost always takes more than one treatment. I like to space the treatments at least 4 weeks apart, but you can space them more than that. Sometimes it may feel like we are chasing the vessels around, as matting does occur when you treat larger vessels. However, if you are persistent, and have a really good injector, sclerotherapy is the best option.
I have used many lasers on leg veins, and have not found one that works as well as sclerotherapy. The KTP laser is an amazing laser, but it is really only good for facial vessels, and for cherry angiomas on the body. It just can't reach the leg veins well without leaving the possibility of scarring. Likewise, I think the Yag-laser is less superior. You can look into the Veinwave system, but I have seen several patients who have developed significant matting after this procedure.
I certainly hope that this helps, and I would love to see you if you come to Seattle.
Thank you, Dr. Reichel, Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center.