Varicose Veins

ShanthiMD -  - Dermatology


Dermatologists & Cosmetic Dermatology located in West Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Nearly 1 in every 4 adults in the United States is affected by unsightly varicose veins. Shanthi Colaço, MD, FAAD, of ShanthiMD Dermatology in the West Los Angeles, practices the philosophy that everyone should feel comfortable in their own skin, and sometimes that means getting rid of varicose veins. Dr. Colaço uses an FDA-approved, state-of-the-art vein treatment protocol that’s the most effective and safest way to treat varicose veins. If you want to diminish the appearance of varicose veins or spider veins, call the office for a consultation to learn more about this state-of-the-art treatment.

Varicose Veins Q & A

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen veins that often appear as visible blue or dark purple veins on your legs. They occur when the valves in the veins no longer function properly and allow blood to pool in a section of the vein. Varicose veins are common in your legs since those veins are the furthest from your heart and your blood has to work against gravity to circulate upward.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

For most men and women, varicose veins don’t cause pain, but your leg may appear swollen or bruised where the veins are bulging and lumpy under your skin. You may experience:

  • An aching feeling in your legs
  • Swollen ankles
  • Leg cramps
  • Venous eczema (dry, itchy skin over the affected vein)

Before treating varicose veins, Dr. Colaço takes a whole-person approach to determine if you are a candidate for treatments such as sclerotherapy.

What can I do to treat varicose veins?

In many cases, varicose veins don’t require treatment, but if their appearance on your legs makes you feel self-conscious, sclerotherapy is a popular, in-office solution to getting rid of varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is a process in which Dr. Colaço injects a solution into the vein causing it to seal itself off. Sclerotherapy is the “gold standard” of varicose vein and spider vein treatments.

What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a treatment for spider veins (less than 1mm diameter) and small varicose veins (aka reticular veins, which are 1-3mm diameter). Varicose Veins that are bulging, swollen and/or symptomatic (pain, throbbing, etc) are not treated with sclerotherapy.

How safe is sclerotherapy?

At Skinstyle Dermatology, Dr. Colaço uses Asclera® (polidocanol) to treat varicose and spider veins in your legs. Asclera is the newest FDA-approved treatment for varicose veins. Research indicates that it’s the safest and most effective product available today.

What can I expect during my varicose vein treatment?

In a fairly quick, 30-minute procedure, Dr. Colaço injects the Asclera solution into the affected varicose veins. The procedure itself is comfortable, as the Asclera contains anesthetic properties. The solution irritates the walls of your veins so, over time, the vein shuts down and gets absorbed into your system. Blood that normally flows through the closed-off vein simply gets rerouted to a healthier vein.

After each of 3-6 treatments spaced 2-3 months apart for optimal results, you wear medical-grade compression stockings for about a week. The compression stockings support your legs as the veins heal, and they minimize side effects such as itching, bruising, or swelling.

If you’re bothered by varicose veins, schedule an appointment with Dr. Colaço to learn about treatments. You can call the office or use the convenient online booking agent.

What is sclerotherapy and how does it work?

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into a targeted vein that causes irritation of the wall lining the vein. This leads to the sealing off and eventual absorption of the treated vein. Sclerotherapy remains the “gold standard” treatment for unwanted small varicose veins (reticular veins) and tiny superficial veins (spider telangectasias) of the leg.

Which sclerosing solution is used at Skinstyle?

We use Asclera© (polidochanol), the newest FDA-approved product on the market. Research has shown Asclera©to be the most effective and safest sclerosing agent to date.

How many treatment sessions are necessary?

Generally speaking, most patients will require 3-6 treatments spaced ~2-3 months apart for optimal results, however this is dependent on the extent and type of veins being treated and individual response to treatment. Once an acceptable clearance of veins has been achieved, periodic maintenance treatments may be needed if new vein formation occurs in treated areas.

What can I expect during treatment?

The procedure takes on average about 30 minutes to perform. The skin is cleansed with alcohol and then tiny needles are used to inject the sclerosing solution into the targeted varicose veins, spider telangectasias, and reticular veins. With the intrinsic anesthetic property of Asclera’s active metabolite, the treatment is very comfortable.

What can I expect post-treatment?

We recommend bringing your medical grade compression stockings with you to your treatment. These will be applied after treatment is completed because this has been shown to decrease the incidence of side effects and enhance the clearance of treated veins. Compression stockings should be worn as much as possible over the next 7 days.

Are there potential side effects?

Side effects are mild in nature and if they do occur, resolve within days to weeks. The most common side effects include temporary itching, pain, swelling, and/or bruising, transient brown patches (hyperpigmentation), and new vein formation at the treatment site. Of note, when evaluated in clinical trials, Asclera© had a decreased incidence of side effects such as post-treatment hyperpigmentation and breakdown (ulceration) of skin when compared with other sclerosing agents.