A Common Yet Unsightly Problem

Millions of women are bothered by spider veins — those small clusters of red, blue, or purple veins that most commonly appear on the thighs, calves, and ankles. In fact, it’s estimated that at least half of the adult female population is affected by this common cosmetic problem.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a micro-injection treatment in which a special solution (hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulfate) is injected into the blood vessel, which then irritates the blood vessel wall. Over the next few weeks, the blood vessel will shrink or disappear.

What to Expect 

The initial part of the sclerotherapy exam involves a complete history and physical to determine any possible contributing factors to your problem. Dysfunction of the valves within the veins contributes to spider veins, and you may need to be sent for non-invasive tests to determine if correction of a leaky valve needs to be performed. After the exam, your leg veins can be addressed. Initially, the larger blue veins will be treated.

This involves a series of injections spaced 3-4 weeks apart. After the procedure, you will be asked to wear compression stockings for the following 7-10 days for best results. Next, the smaller blue and red veins will be treated. Again, injections are in the preferred starting point. You will need to wear your stockings only for 2-3 days. Any remaining vessels can then be treated with our PhotoDerm® laser.

Are There Any Risks?

There are several risks associated with sclerotherapy injections. You should not be pregnant or considering a pregnancy at the time of the treatment. Because only a certain amount of fluid can be safely injected at each visit, the sclerotherapy process will typically take several treatments scheduled about four weeks apart. While we will inject as many veins as possible, if you have many veins to work on, we may not be able to safely treat them all during one session.

Rarely, a small amount of blood may leak into the surrounding tissue as the vessel fades. This causes a faint brown mark or “ghost” where the old blood vessels used to be. This will fade with time; however, it may take several months. Occasionally, the new blood vessels will be formed when the old ones go away. This is a process called “matting”. These can typically be treated with our PhotoDerm laser.


Downtime and Results

After treatment you may experience some bruising, and occasionally small scabs can form at the site of the injection. We recommend walking after treatment, but avoid strenuous activities for about four days. Overall you should expect to see significant improvement with just one treatment. You’ll feel much more comfortable wearing clothes that expose your legs, as those troublesome blood vessels will finally be gone. 

Dr. Karyn Grossman, MD


at Grossman Dermatology 

If you’re ready to get rid of those unattractive veins, we can help. Sclerotherapy in Santa Monica is performed at Grossman Dermatology, which is led by board-certified cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Karyn Grossman. It is a long-established, high-end boutique practice known for excellence and a high level of customer care. Dr. Grossman is a respected author, instructor, and speaker within the aesthetic industry, and is beloved by patients for her dedicated attention, thoroughness, and passion for getting the best results possible in a safe and effective manner. Our team at Grossman Dermatology proudly serves patients from Santa Monica, California and New York, New York. If you’re interested in sclerotherapy, we welcome you to contact us.

Schedule a consultation with Dr. Grossman
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