Midcoast Cardiovascular AssociatesServices


Healthy Heart and Veins With Sclerotherapy

Vein therapy is best carried out by a trained physician, one that manages all aspects of your body’s circulation, including all cardiac structures – the heart, arteries, and veins. When you come to Midcoast Cardiovascular and Associates, you’ll meet with Dr. Ginkel – a board-certified cardiologist and vein specialist focusing on maintaining comprehensive heart health, which includes having functional, competent veins. During your initial consultation, Dr. Ginkel will ask you some preliminary questions:

  • How well are you walking these days?
  • Do you have pain in your legs?
  • Are you noticing any blue-green or purple raised veins?
  • Are your legs often swollen and tender after a long day at work?
  • Would you say your legs feel restless throughout the day?
  • Have you noticed any pigmentation changes in your limbs?
  • Do you have any open sores on around the ankles?

Ultrasound Assessment to Determine Venous Insufficiency – Vein Mapping

Based on your answers and by measuring the level of pain you’re experiencing, Dr. Ginkel will perform an ultrasound exam to explore your veins further. These ultrasound vein exams are non-invasive, much like the cardiac echo, and offer an intimate view into vein function. As you may have some concerns upon the appearance of varicose and spider veins, a deeper assessment of the structures will provide a clearer picture of how serious your venous insufficiency may be. Insufficient veins are those that are not capable of containing blood and moving it throughout the body in a forward motion back to the heart. Veins stretch, their valves leak, and blood pools, producing varicose and spider veins that are visible on the surface of the skin.

It is important to understand that these surface venous conditions you see may be indicative of deeper issues that can potentially be the cause of blood clot formation and pulmonary embolism. Using our dual assessment of heart function and veins, Dr. Ginkel can accurately diagnose any conditions you need to be aware of, and those that require immediate treatment. Should your varicose and spider veins simply be a cosmetic issue, we have options to treat them and remove them completely. While we have a few different solutions to eliminate varicose and spider veins, sclerotherapy is the least invasive and fastest method, and is relatively pain-free.

Sclerotherapy Eliminates Varicose and Spider Veins

After your detailed ultrasound exam for spider and varicose veins, Dr. Ginkel may recommend sclerotherapy as a cosmetic solution to remove ropey and bright veins. Sclerotherapy is our minimally invasive vein removal technique that uses injections of a special detergent to cause a collapse of these problem veins. The detergent is often referred to as a sclerosant, which causes irritation of the inner lumen of the vein. The following solutions used in sclerotherapy consist of detergents, chemical irritants, and osmotic formulas:

  • Polidocanol
  • Sodium tetradecyl sulfate
  • Chromated glycerine
  • Hypertonic saline

Each formula is a liquid solution that works best to eliminate varicose and spider veins on a smaller scale, usually about two millimeters or less in diameter. When we come across large varicose veins, it may require an alternative foam sclerotherapy injection or another treatment like microphlebectomy or endovenous radiofrequency ablation therapy.

How Does Dr. Ginkel Perform Sclerotherapy?

During your initial assessment, Dr. Ginkel will have let you know if you will need more than one sclerotherapy session to effectively treat the problem veins. Shortly after your assessment, you can begin sclerotherapy injections in the clinic.Dr. Ginkel will have you lay back on the treatment table and elevate your affected leg so the blood can flow upward passively, reducing some of the pressure on the veins. You will not need an anesthetic, since many of these sclerotherapy injections are mostly superficial, and include a bit of lidocaine in the solution to reduce any pain sensation. Dr. Ginkel will clean the skin with an alcohol swab and begin injecting the chosen sclerosant into the affected vein. Spider veins are typically the quickest to treat, and you can see the result directly after injection, so you may consider bringing a pair of shorts to change into!

Each sclerosant injection into a spider vein takes just a few seconds, and the total treatment can take less than 15 minutes, though treatment time will vary depending on how many areas are being treated. Varicose veins take some time to recede into the skin and be broken down by the body, so these larger veins may take a few weeks before you see a reduction in their appearance. After the ultrasound assessment, you can rest easy knowing these varicose and spider veins are safe to remove, as all blood that previously moved through this vein will naturally detour through healthier veins.

Dr. Ginkel will fit you for compression stockings that may benefit you post-treatment, and you can begin walking as soon as you have completed this set of injections. We know it is difficult to worry about the stress varicose veins cause socially, so come in for your sclerotherapy consultation today by calling our office at 805-354-0112.

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