Varicose Veins
Varicose Veins
varicose veins

Understanding & Managing Unsightly and Painful Veins with Sclerotherapy in Vancouver

Today it is common for adults to have varicose veins. Varicose veins are highly visible veins located just underneath the skin's surface. They appear as bulging or twisted blood vessels. Usually, they appear on the inside of the leg, calves and thighs. Spider veins appear smaller than varicose veins. Additionally, they don't bulge and swell in the same way as varicose veins. They resemble spiderwebs due to their jagged lines. The majority of spider veins are situated on the face and legs. Nevertheless, spider veins and varicose veins share the same underlying cause.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

When veins malfunction, varicose veins develop. Veins have one-way flaps, acting like valves, to prevent blood from flowing backwards. When these valves fail, blood begins to collect in the veins instead of continuing on toward the heart. This causes the veins to enlarge. Legs often suffer from varicose veins. Due to the veins being so far from your heart, gravity hinders the flow of blood upward through those areas.

How are Varicose Veins Diagnosed?

A physician needs to examine your legs while seated or standing to diagnose varicose veins. You may be asked about any pain or symptoms you're experiencing. Occasionally, you may experience swelling and skin discoloration due to varicose veins. Sometimes these veins can break open and the bleeding can be significant. This requires emergency room treatment. An ultrasound can be helpful in some special cases to ensure a blockage or blood clot is not causing pain and swelling in your legs.

Varicose Vein Symptoms - Visible and Sore

Veins that are highly visible, misshapen, and unsightly, usually on the legs, are the primary symptoms of varicose veins. Since they can be very noticeable, they can make one feel uncomfortable or embarrassed. For these patients with aesthetic concerns, sclerotherapy is often a good option to explore. Pain is usually associated with varicose veins and symptoms include swelling, heaviness, and achiness in the swelling around the veins. Varicose veins are frequently swollen and raised with a red or blue colour.

varicose veins
Varicose Veins
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Varicose and Spider Vein Risk Factors

It is common for people to suffer from varicose veins. Having varicose veins is often hereditary - this is the most significant risk factor for developing varicose and spider veins. Additionally, any activity or condition that increases pressure in the veins can lead to varicose veins. The following conditions may increase pressure in our veins:

  • Being overweight
  • Older age
  • Inactivity
  • Leg injuries
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Taking oral contraceptive pills or hormone replacement

Preventing Spider Veins or Varicose Veins

Steps to prevent varicose veins include, keeping a healthy weight, exercising regularly, elevating your feet up while sitting, avoiding tight clothing above the knees. Sclerotherapy plays no role in prevention.

Options for Treating Spider Veins or Varicose veins

Lifestyle changes may help prevent varicose veins from forming or becoming worse. One such modification is elevating the legs. Three or four times a day, elevating your feet above the level of your heart for 15 minutes at a time can be beneficial. Flexing (bending) your legs occasionally can mitigate swelling and discomfort when you're standing or sitting for an extended period of time.

Compression socks or stockings may be recommended by a physician. These place enough pressure on your legs so that blood can flow more easily to your heart. In addition, they decrease swelling. Compression stockings come in various levels of compression but are typically available in medical supply stores or drugstores. Whether to use a compression stocking and how much pressure is necessary depends on the severity, type, and underlying cause of the person's varicose veins. Compression stockings also do not last forever and need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months.

If you're interested in compression stockings, the doctors at SparrowMD would be pleased to assist.

Unfortunately, compression stockings may not eliminate varicose veins, but they may reduce associated pain and swelling. When varicose veins have already developed, these compression stockings don't reduce the appearance of those veins. In this case, options like sclerotherapy are potential options worth considering. Some evidence suggests, however, that compression stockings are helpful in preventing varicose veins.

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Sclerotherapy in Vancouver

Previously, varicose veins were treated with invasive surgery. This approach required general anesthesia required a longer recovery period and was associated with a higher risk of blood clots and infection. Luckily, medical advancements in vein treatments have reduced the recovery time and risks for patients. Because of this, invasive procedures have become less common.

Benefits of Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins & Spider Veins

For spider veins and varicose veins, sclerotherapy has become a common non-invasive treatment. It is a fast procedure with little downtime and great results. One study recorded that 83 percent of those who received sclerotherapy experienced significant benefits.

What Happens During Sclerotherapy

The procedure involves injecting a compound into the vein using a small needle. As a result, the vein walls swell, stick together, and seal shut. The vein becomes completely absorbed by the body after it stops flowing blood. Depending on the severity of the condition, the sclerotherapy procedure can take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour.

The treatment usually involves lying on your back with your legs elevated. Your doctor may use ultrasound for the procedure, depending on how far below your skin the damaged vein is. You will first need to have your skin cleaned around the target vein. Next, a fine needle, the targeted vein will be injected with a sclerosing agent, causing it to close, and if effective, resolve the spider or varicose vein.

Unlike compression stockings, sclerotherapy can both reduce or eliminate the appearance and the side effects of varicose and spider veins. For sclerotherapy to be maximally effective, it may take 3-4 treatments depending on the vein or veins being treated.

The most common side effects of sclerotherapy are bruising, stinging, swelling, discoloration of the skin, discomfort, and red spots at the injection sites. All of these side effects usually subside in a few days. Brown lines and spots may develop in rare cases near the treatment site. The majority of these disappear within three to six months. Sclerotherapy is a fast, well-tolerated procedure that has minimal downtime.

Booking and Cost of Sclerotherapy in Vancouver

Not only are you going to love how great your legs look after sclerotherapy, but Sparrow MD is dedicated to helping people feel more confident about their bodies and live healthier. These unsightly bulging purple and blue veins have solutions. The cost of this treatment is dependent on the size and number of veins that require treatment. The first step towards solving any concerns would be a consultation with the doctors at Sparrow MD. Book a consult today so they can help determine if this procedure is right for you, and how your varicose, and spider vein concerns can be addressed most effectively.

Medical Author

Dr. Van Dewark is passionate about medical aesthetics and medical education. He is a college registered physician in BC (CPSBC) and a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada in emergency medicine. He actively teaches and is a published researcher in his role as a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia. He has been recognized nationally by the Royal College of Physicians for his medical education-based research. Dr. Van Dewark finds a deep sense of fulfillment in helping his patients accomplish their aesthetic and wellness goals. To help his patients be the best versions of themselves and to love who they see in the mirror is what motivates him. Inspired by his work as an emergency physician at Vancouver General Hospital, ensuring the safest delivery of medical aesthetic treatments for his clients is paramount to him and he conveys this to his team at Sparrow MD.

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