Are you tired of not being able to wear shorts in the summer, without being very aware of your leg veins? Consultations for varicose veins do require a referral from a family physician and the consultation is covered by OHIP.
Sclerotherapy (Spider Veins)
Spider veins are small superficial blood vessels that appear red or blue in the skin. These dilated blood vessels may be short, unconnected lines, each about the size of a large hair, or connected in a “sunburst” pattern. They may look like a spider web or a tree with branches. Spider veins can occur in a small area where they are not very noticeable, or they can cover a large area of the skin and be very unattractive.
Treatment with sclerotherapy involves injections of a solution called sclerosing solution, which is injected directly into the blood vessel with a very fine needle. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel causing it to swell, stick together and the blood to clot. Over a period of weeks, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades, eventually becoming barely noticeable. After several treatments, most patients can expect 80 – 90 percent improvement. Fading will gradually occur over months.
Side effects of sclerotherapy can include stinging or pain at the sites of injections; red, raised areas at the sites of injection; brown lines or spots on the skin at the sites of treated blood vessels; temporary bruises; lumps in injected vessels; and development of groups of fine red blood vessels near the sites of injection of larger vessels. Sclerotherapy for spider veins is a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by OHIP.
Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
Varicose veins occur mainly from genetic susceptibility and appear as large, blue coloured veins, often bulging at the skin’s surface. These unsightly veins can now be treated with the use of an ultrasound to guide the injection of sclerosing solutions into the varicose veins. The majority of patients have no pain after this treatment. Occasionally, you may get aching for a few days. Compression stockings are worn for 1 week following the procedure and exercise is also critical post treatment. We ask you to exercise for 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon. This can include anything that contracts your calf muscles, such as walking, aerobics, cycling, step machines and jogging. Heavy weight should be avoided, as this increases venous pressure in the legs.