If you have a vacation, wedding or other big event coming up, several cosmetic vein treatments are available to help your legs look their best.
While these vein treatments are very effective, you will still need to plan ahead in order for your legs to be fully healed by the time your step onto the beach or the dance floor.
When to Plan Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins
If you are considering sclerotherapy for your spider or varicose veins, you should plan to start treatment at least 10 months before your vacation or big event.
The main reason for this is because your doctor will treat your problem veins over three to six sessions. You will also need to wait at least six months between sessions, and maybe longer if your doctor has a very busy practice.
You should also factor in the several months that it takes for the veins to disappear completely, although they will start to fade within a few weeks after the procedure.
Most of your recovery, though, will take place while you are waiting for the spider veins to fade. You can resume your normal activities on the day of the procedure.
However, you should avoid exercise and and not expose your treated leg to direct sunlight for two weeks. During this time, you will also need to wear compression stockings.
Some people who undergo sclerotherapy may develop fine red-colored blood vessels on the leg (matting) or a brown stain caused by blood trapped in the treated vessel. These can take months to years to go away. Your doctor can talk to you more about these side effects.
Planning Ahead for Laser Spider Vein Treatments
Like sclerotherapy, laser treatment requires several sessions—four to eight weeks apart—to treat your spider veins. So plan to start treatment at least 10 months in advance of your upcoming trip. After examining your legs, your doctor will be able give you a better estimate.
Recovery after laser spider vein treatment is quick. You will be able to return to your normal activities on the same day, including exercise. Your doctor may ask you to wear compression stocks for one to two days, although this is not always needed. You should, however, avoid exposing your treated area to direct sunlight for up to two weeks.
Depending on your skin tone, you may have darkening or lightening of the skin within three weeks after the procedure. These side effects are usually temporary, but can last for up to a year. In rare cases, this discoloration is permanent. Your doctor can give you more information about possible skin discoloration.
When to Plan for Endovenous Thermal Ablation
Endovenous thermal ablation is a more intensive treatment for varicose veins. You should plan to start treatment at least two months before your vacation or event.
Recovery from the procedure will take four to six weeks, during which time most bruising, discomfort and tingling will have gone away.
However, you will have a follow-up visit with your doctor after about six weeks. During this visit, your doctor may decide that you need other treatments, including sclerotherapy or phlebectomy.
After endovenous thermal ablation, you can resume many of your normal activities on the same day, but should avoid heavy lifting and exercise for one to two weeks.
You can go back to work within three to four days, but may need more time off if your job requires prolonged standing or heavy lifting.
You will also need to wear bandages for two to three days and compression stockings for one to two weeks.
Planning Ahead for Ambulatory Phlebectomy
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a common treatment for varicose veins, and is often performed alongside endovenous thermal ablation. You will need at least a few months before your trip for full recovery after phlebectomy.
During the procedure, your doctor will make several tiny nicks or punctures in the skin, through which the varicose vein is removed. No sutures are needed, but it will take a few months for these punctures to heal completely.
You should also expect to need six weeks for the bruising, discomfort, tingling and tightness in the treated leg to go away.
Recovery for ambulatory phlebectomy is similar to that for endovenous thermal ablation. You can resume many of your normal activities on the day of the procedure, but should avoid strenuous activities for one to two weeks.
You can return to work after three to four days, but if your job requires long periods of standing or heavy lifting, you may need more time off.
Also, you will need to wear bandages for one to two days and compression stockings for one to two weeks.