Micro-sclerotherapy is a type of sclerotherapy treatment used to shrink small spider veins — also known as thread veins — in the legs. The prefix "micro" comes from the small size of the veins treated, and distinguishes this therapy from sclerotherapy used to shrink larger varicose veins and hemorrhoids. During micro-sclerotherapy treatments, a solution called a sclerosant is injected into the spider vein. This causes inflammation of the wall of the vein, stopping the flow of blood through it. Once the vein is destroyed, its appearance fades as it is eventually replaced by unseen scar tissue.
This non-surgical treatment has been used to fade spider veins in the legs for decades. These tiny, red or purple surface blood vessels are not a medical problem, rather an aesthetic one. The veins are sealed off using micro-sclerotherapy, causing them to diminish or disappear. Several treatments, spaced about a month apart, might be necessary for full effectiveness. This therapy usually requires no compression wrappings afterwards, unlike compression sclerotherapy used to treat blood vessel malformations such as varicose veins and lymphatic malformations.
The procedure is generally done with no anesthetic, as there is little to no discomfort. This is due to the extremely small diameter of the injection needle. Micro-sclerotherapy procedures generally take less than an hour. There is no recovery time after the treatment, and patients can resume normal activities the same day. Some physical activity is usually advised after the treatment rather than long periods of standing or sitting.
Before the scheduling the treatment, a medical evaluation is performed. When varicose veins accompany the spider veins, they are usually treated first, as chronic varicose vein disorder might be an underlying cause of spider vein formation. If no other vein problems are found during the examination, the health professional generally explains the benefits and risks of micro-sclerotherapy treatment. A discussion the patient’s expectations and desires might also be a part of the preliminary examination. The procedure is considered potentially unsafe for women taking the birth control pill and for anyone with a history of blood clots.
Complications after micro-sclerotherapy treatment are generally mild, temporary and uncommon. The injection site might have some pain or irritation, and there is a small chance of scarring at the site if it becomes irritated. This is the reason why micro-sclerotherapy is not used for facial spider veins. As the medicine begins to work on the vein, the vein may temporarily look more obvious before beginning to fade. Rarely, the medicine escapes from the vein, causing temporary irritation to the surrounding skin.