Erasing spider veins

Erasing spider veins
Liquid sclerotherapy can make spider veins disappear before your eyes, by scarring down these tiny veins. (Source: KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Summertime is the season of shorts and swimsuits, and for many women, their dreaded spider veins on bigger display.

It is a cosmetic issue that can leave some covering up, but there is a way to make them disappear!

Trena Guglielmo is on her feet practically all day and feels like she has been for years.

'"I've been a hairdresser for 26 years, so standing on my feet has caused me a lot of swelling," she said.  "Being pregnant, two kids, on my feet really added to it."

The result: unsightly small veins called spider veins, common in women after pregnancy, and anyone as they age, post-surgery, or after trauma, says Dr. Carl Fastabend with the Vein Center of Southwest Louisiana.

"They change color and become hardened or abnormal and sometimes these veins become painful to people," said Dr. Fastabend.

Laser therapy can help reduce the appearance, but it is not a permanent solution.

Guglielmo had that done 15 years ago, but the veins are back and she is ready to say bye bye.    

"It's not painful," she said.  "It's painful to look at for me."

Enter liquid sclerotherapy, a treatment Dr. Fastabend calls "miraculous."

"We can inject a medication in small quantities with a small needle into the abnormality, and make it go away forever," he said.  "It's really to me miraculous and it's one of the miracles of modern medicine."

Here's how it works as each tiny vein is targeted:

"They initially go into spasm and then they become inflamed as blood comes back into them and then they scar down and disappear over a period of time," said Dr. Fastabend.

Spasm, scarring down - it might sound painful, but Guglielmo says it's not.

"You can feel a little prick," she said.  "That's it. It's not painful whatsoever."

Theresa Needham agrees.  She had it done five years ago and is ready to get a spot she skipped last time erased for good.

"You see results right away," said Needham.  "There is one area that I see has come about a little stronger, I guess age takes its toll."

Sessions last about 30 minutes and are limited by the amount of medication that can be injected.

That's why it might take several sessions to perfect an entire leg.

Guglielmo says she hopes she can toss the concealer she has used on her legs for years.

"If I can go without any coverings on my legs in the summer or putting self tanner on to hide them," she said.

For the best results, patients are encouraged to wear compression stockings in the days to follow a treatment.

Insurance does not cover the procedure.  It costs $300 for the first treatment and $199 for any more to follow.

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