Tag: spider veins

Spider (Vein) Extermination: results are in!

I made a promise to my readers. I guess I need to deliver on it. But it has to do with spider…veins.

The idea of spiders in my veins fills me with shivers of icy dread. No, anything but spiders. So creepy and crawly and hairy and AH!

But spider veins aren’t crawly or hairy at all. Creepy? Yes. And they make my skin appear crepey, as well.

This summer, I purchased a discount coupon for three injectable treatment sessions. The last week of July, I had my first appointment. You can read about it here.

Two other appointments followed at four-week intervals. When I had my final treatment in September, the doctor advised that I should wait two or three months before determining if I was pleased with the results.

The three-month marker has arrived.

Before and After Photos

Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment
Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment

Left ankle four months after two treatments
Left ankle four months after two treatments

 

Right ankle three months after three treatments
Right ankle three months after three treatments
Right ankle before the treatments
Right ankle before the treatments

My Results

My results are mixed.

The area of the worst spider (vein) infestation remains an unsightly mess of blue webbing. (Blue because that is un-oxygenated blood pooling in those areas.)

However, my other ankle responded favorably. No, the veins didn’t disappear completely, but they’re much less pronounced. I’m hoping a good tan will disguise them completely.

Obviously, I can’t give a glowing report touting the wonders of sclerotherapy.

You won’t hear me condemning it either.

In some cases, this may be the most affordable course of action. In other cases, you should spend the money on something else.

My Recommendation

Given the price and level of inconvenience, including pain and after-effects, of sclerotherapy, I do have a recommendation.

It’s worth a try. At least two of the areas I had treated look like successes.

However, if you have an over-saturated area (like my left ankle), this might not be the pathway toward beautification. Since I have a hideous varicose vein in that leg, that was an added complication (which I wrote about here).

The rate of $100 per treatment seems slightly steep to me, since the appointments last twenty minutes and the vial of solution this buys is minuscule. The $90 per treatment “deal” I got by packaging three treatments with the coupon was a 55 percent savings over the usual price.

Needless to say, I’m tight with my money. I would never have tried this procedure at $600 for three treatments.

I also feel sclerotherapy would have been more helpful if I didn’t wait until my veins had ten years to create webs and settle in.

If you have the money and your veins are a fairly new addition to your legs’ landscape, give this treatment plan a try.

One bad vein leads to another

Fight age. yeah right

The leading cause of ugly and bulging veins is age. Apparently, it’s past time for me to face facts. Spider veins could be caused by varicose veins, and all of it is a result of nearing the half-century point in life.

I’m old. There. I admitted it. Are you happy now?

I’m not. Most of the time my brain thinks I’m 38 or thereabouts. Or I have the wisdom of a white-haired sage, but not the years or wrinkles to pair with it.

Yeah. Denial. I’m pretty good at it.

In July, I began a three-treatment therapy for the spider veins in my ankles and calves. Sclerotherapy. Read about it here.

After my second treatment, I learned about the miracle-working properties of castor oil. If you missed that, click here.

My third treatment was on September 15. I know, a whole month, and I’m just now sharing the results.

Even better: I’m not really sharing the results.

Bad Veins

I may have mentioned that my left ankle is hideously marked by spider veins. It was so nice when someone commented that the picture I posted of that offensive appendage “couldn’t possibly be” mine.

Oh, yes. Whether I want to claim it or not, this disgusting exhibit of tiny blood vessels is mine.

Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment
Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment

I noticed some good results in my right ankle from the treatments, but I noticed something terrible in my left.

The veins seemed closer to the skin than ever. Furthermore, the stretched-beyond-recognition varicose vein in my calf was puffing up like a territorial cat.

Worse. It popped out –would you believe it-in the joint on the top of my ankle.

Alittle bit of medical information might be helpfule here. Varicose veins enlarge because blood is pooling in them, rather than being pumped back to the heart. They appear blue because veins carry blood that is low in oxygen, blue until the big Os hit it and then it sees red.

Spider veins appear in areas where there is too much blood with nothing to transport it back to the big veins who will send it off to the heart for recharging.

Does anyone see a correlation? Varicose veins mean blood is pooling. Spider veins mean blood is pooling.

So those little spiders might relieve some of the pressure on the non-elastic varicose.

And I so thoughtlessly stomped out those spiders with my prickly needle treatments. Big Sister Vare made her irritation known.

Treatments

There are ways to treat varicose veins. For instance, I’m supposed to wear compression stockings to help encourage the blood back up toward the heart.

Other ways to treat these unsightly big girls is sclerotherapy (but this wasn’t an option offered at Hale Health where I had my treatments), laser surgeries, vein stripping and vein surgery.

No, I didn’t sign up for it.

The medical procedures could be covered by insurance if your doctor refers you. The doctor’s questions:

“Are you in pain?”

“Have you been wearing the compression stockings?”

Since only negative answers are true for me, having the medical plan cover the cost isn’t going to happen.

There are places that will do it and offer payment plans. Supposedly, they even charge someone who walks in with cash a discounted price. After all, the insurance company can afford to pay whatever they demand, right?

Is it any wonder the cost for medical insurance keeps rising while the benefits fall?

Not chasing that bunny trail.

What I meant to tell my readers is: I won’t even know if the sclerotherapy would have cured those webs from my left ankle.

Dr. Brooks and I agreed that dissolving those little guys may have been what pushed the varicose vein to bulge where it had not previously been noticeable.

This is the left foot after two treatments.
This is the left foot after two treatments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After all that money, time, inconvenience and a small amount of discomfort, the ugliest duckling remains. It sucked up a gluttinous portion of magic serum during two visits, and as you can see, was still an unsightly mess.

Varicose veins feed those ugly spiders. If you take their spider outlets away, they bulge out in ugliness. One bad vein leads to another. Go figure.

Fighting Signs of Age

I hate spiders. I scream and flinch at the sight of these eight-legged arachnid monsters. I detest the spider veins in my lower legs with equal ferocity.

Spiders of the insect kingdom can coexist with me as long as they stay outdoors. Spiders of ugly blood vessels expanding around my ankles? I thought I would have to learn to live with those as well.

Two Treatment Methods

Advancing technology means new ways to address everything medical – including unsightly veins in your legs. In the area of spider veins, there are two different treatments.

One treatment involves lasers. Sounds scary, right? What? Are they going to cut those buggers out?

Uh, no. The laser heats up the small vein and destroys it. The body reabsorbs the vein, and in four to six weeks – it’s like nothing was ever there.

The treatment I found an Amazon Local deal for involves a needle and saline solution. Not sounding better than the laser to you?

It’s called sclerotherapy. The solution is injected directly into the ugly little spider. Eventually the vein collapses and fades from view.

Yes, no immediate results from either of these procedures. Does that mean it isn’t worth the time and money? Read on.

Facing the Needle

This is an in-office procedure performed by a naturopathic doctor. I’m sure other medical doctors might also perform it, but I visited Hale Health, LLC, in Tualatin, Oregon. It’s a naturopathic clinic that treats many conditions with natural products and procedures.

The doctor was friendly and put me immediately at ease.

There was paperwork to read and complete. After quizzing me about my medical history, she discussed the procedure and the associated risks.

I asked about the solution she was injecting. She answered all my inquiries thoroughly.

Then I lay on the table (think massage table not doctor’s office table), and she began with my left ankle.

She poked a needle into my ankle repeatedly. Of course it hurt.

I’m not a needle-phobe. Do I like to be stabbed with a sharp instrument? You need to ask? I’m not crazy! I’m hardly a masochist.

Only once did it truly HURT. She shot down a bitty vein right on my right ankle bone. Needle drilling into bone? Unpleasant in the worst way.

After she drained the .5 ml vial (the scope of a single treatment), she wrapped the three areas with ace bandages. They needed to stay shaded from the sun for 48 hours – and it wasn’t even noon and I was headed out to lunch and shopping.

The sites did itch afterward. Putting ice on them took away the itch and minimized the swelling. There wasn’t much pain once the poking was finished.

The Results

Before and after photos are everyone’s favorite thing, right? I really didn’t want to put these before pictures up here. I mean, who wants to look at some old lady’s ugly legs?

Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment
Left Ankle: Before the First Treatment

 

 

Left Ankle: After the First Treatment
Left Ankle: After the First Treatment

However, I want to help you make informed decisions. If you’re vain about the appearance of your legs (yes, I am a victim of this shortcoming), you may want to consider having sclerotherapy – or the laser counterpart. Especially if you can get three treatments for the price of one.

As you can see, I didn’t have immediate results with my initial treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Both of my ankles swelled after the procedure.

In fact, my left ankle remained swollen for several days after the injections. About half of the solution was used in that location because it had the most pronounced veins. Even ten days afterward, I had bumps on that ankle at two of the injection sites.

My second treatment was scheduled for three weeks after the first. Even as close to that date as two days prior, I wasn’t sure if my legs would be recovered from the earlier encounter with the needle.

Under the Needle – Again

Shouldn’t knowing what to expect lessen the anxiety? Somehow, it didn’t. I was subjecting myself to more puncture wounds. No, I was PAYING someone to torture me with needles.

And I couldn’t have guessed how much poking there would be.

Apparently, veins have one-way valves to help push the blood back toward the heart. And my little spiders had nested next to a couple of these.

Before the treatment could even begin, the doctor used a syringe to drain blood from the affected areas. Vampires like spiders. Who knew?

So I endured easily more than twice as many pokes as the first treatment.

At least I had pizza and a Greek salad afterward. My husband knows exactly how to bring a smile back to my face. (Yes. It’s as easy as good pizza and nutritious salad.)

Looking much better AFTER the 2nd Treatment
Looking much better AFTER the 2nd Treatment
Too much blood had settled there BEFORE the second treatment
Too much blood had settled there BEFORE the second treatment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next appointment is in September. Look for part two of this story once I finish the three treatments. I’m expecting great results. AND I would never leave you wondering how things ended.

Cliff hangers are NOT my style.

Either way, you’ll know how I fared. And whether it might be a good investment for you, or not.

How do you feel about needles? Have you ever undergone “elective” procedures before? Do you consider this sort of thing “cosmetic”? Am I a vain woman to be subjecting my spiders to the needle?