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Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Even though varicose and spider veins are usually painless and not a threat to health, they can affect your self-image, particularly when it comes time to wear shorts and swimwear. The risk for varicose and spider veins increases when a woman becomes pregnant, or with age or obesity. Women are more likely to get them than men. There are treatment options available for people experiencing symptoms related to them, or if you want to have them removed.

These twisted and swollen veins usually appear on the legs. Varicose veins can cause the skin to bulge and look like blue, red or skin-colored ropes. They may appear on the calves, inside the legs near the ankles and feet, and on the thighs. They may show around the inner thighs, lower pelvic area and the buttocks if a woman gets them during pregnancy.

They can be eliminated through a medical procedure called sclerotherapy, which has been used since the 1930s with success. In most situations, a salt solution is injected directly into the vein, irritating the lining of the blood vessel. The blood vessel then collapses, sticks together, and the blood clots. The blood vessel turns to scar tissue eventually and cannot be seen.

Effective Treatment for Spider Veins

Spider veins are smaller than the larger, rope-like varicose veins. These tiny veins usually show up as red web-like structures underneath the skin. Unlike varicose veins, spider veins do not raise the skin. They are usually seen on the legs, but they can also appear on the face.

Mild cases of spider veins can be treated with compression stockings. Wearing these daily will improve the flow of blood in the legs. They are worn during the day and removed at night. In addition to managing symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins, compression stockings can help eliminate more from forming.

Causes for Varicose and Spider Veins

Problems with blood flow cause these highly visible veins. When the valves in the veins are not working properly due to age, obesity or pregnancy, spider veins or varicose veins may develop. The one-way flaps in the veins may not close properly, causing blood to back up into the lower part of the vein instead of traveling to the heart as it normally would. As this process continues, the walls of the vein weaken due to the blood that is trapped. The vein grows larger as a result.

Risk Factors

Varicose and spider veins can occur for various reasons, but the risk is increased for certain people.

  • Family history can affect your susceptibility for varicose and spider veins. If you have a parent who has them, your risk factor is increased.
  • Weight is another major factor. The additional pressure caused by obesity can cause the valves in the veins to work improperly. Women who maintain a healthy weight are less likely to have weight-related vein issues.
  • Sitting or standing for more than four hours at a time causes the veins to work harder pumping blood back to the heart, due to the pull of gravity.
  • Hormonal therapies like hormonal birth control or hormones used to treat menopause can increase the risk for varicose and spider veins. The estrogen hormone in these therapies can weaken the valves in the veins.
  • Blood clots in the legs can damage the veins. Scarring of the veins has the same effect.
  • Aging can cause weakening of the vein valves. Calf muscles lose their strength as women get older, and it is these muscles that help send the blood back to the heart when you walk.

When regular physical activity does not help prevent varicose or spider veins from developing, and other home remedies like elevating your feet, losing weight and wearing compression stockings are ineffective, you may want to consult with a doctor for further treatment options. Contact the Vascular Birthmark Center of New York for information about varicose and spider vein treatment.

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The Vascular Birthmark Center: Gregory M. Levitin, MD

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Based on 27 reviews

Abril M.

Dr. Levitin is very knowledgeable, compassionate and professional. Five years ago, I needed to find information about a birth mark that my newborn daughter started to grow a couple days after birth. I was afraid, I did not feel like I got any clear information about it through my insurance; also, they did not offer any course of treatment for it. I started to look for information, the birthmark was growing each day, information was scarce and I just got more scared. Finally, I found a video in Youtube from a grandmother who was very grateful after finding treatment for her grand daughter through The Birthmark Foundation. It was a huge blessing to me and my family. I found Dr. Levitin, I contacted him thinking he probably would not even answer. I was wrong, he kindly answered promptly, got in touch with me and soon he had a plan : ) I went to see him at the Birthmark Center in Los Angeles. He explained everything in a way that it was so clear to understand, no question I made was insignificant and his answers were each very informative. I really never have had an experience with a doctor who explains and speaks in such a way. I left his office knowing that my daughter was in the best hands and the best care. I first thank God for the Birthmark Foundation, a great organization with the highest quality of doctors. Also, a very special thanks to Dr. Levitin for all his help and kindness, for listening to my concerns and answering each and every question. And last, but no least, to the Birthmark Foundation Center in Los Angeles : ) I hope many children can find help/care in this place as I found it for my daughter. Thank you forever.

Ryan E.

I will be telling tales of the good doctors compassion till time comes to an end. Because of Dr Levitin, I have more confidence in my every day life. He was fast, knowledgeable, precise and all with a disarming sense of humor. Two thumbs up!

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I wanted to show you how much better Hailey's tongue looks and let you know her speech has already improved so much!!! Her speech teacher is thrilled!!!! Thank you so much for everything you did for her. You are an excellent surgeon with a great bedside manner- we are forever grateful to you!!! We are so appreciative!

Danielle L.

we are forever grateful for Dr. Levitin. My daughter Lena had surgery to remove her hemangioma that was located on her forehead at just 6 month old. she healed beautifully and we couldn't be happier with how minimal her scar is, even almost 4.5 years later. Dr. Levitin is caring, compassionate, and such a great doctor/surgeon overall. He had our daughter's best interest and I knew she was in good hands. I highly recommend him any chance I get!


My name is Chris and I was recently treated for an AVM on my forehead by Dr. Gregory Levitin of New York (New York Eye and Ear Infirmary). Thankfully, I live within a few hours of NYC. In brief, I would like to say that Dr. Levitin is very capable doctor with a lot of experience with AVMs. He responds quickly to e-mail, texts, and phone calls. He accepts insurance. He takes a "team approach" and will be your "QB" and involve other specialists as necessary. In my particular case they were Dr. Raj Shrivastava (Mt Sinai) and Dr. Raphael A. Ortiz (Lenox Hill) in NY. I recommend contacting Dr Levitin for a consultation if you suspect you have an AVM. All 3 Drs are just good people. When I spoke to them, they treated me like like an equal. I felt like they were advising me as a close friend or family member. Like many that suffer with AVMs I was at first mis-diagnosed. What was thought to be a just a simple cyst turned out to be an AVM. Surgery to remove the cyst made the AVM about 5x bigger. My treatment entailed a few MRIs and CAT scans to determine what was going on and the treatment plan. This was followed by consultation with the 3 Drs mentioned above and finally a 2-day procedure. On day 1 Dr Ortiz embolized the AVM. On day 2 Dr Levitin and Dr Shrivastava removed the AVM from my skull and put some metal mesh there to fill the "hole". It has been 6-months since the surgery and so far I have not had any recurrence. In honor of Vascular Birthmark Awareness Day and to thank these Drs for all they have done for me, I just want to give everyone a solid reference. Finding the right doctor for this type of stuff makes all the difference.

Valle S.

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Alicia M.

This year marks the 10th that I contacted VBF for help. Since then I have been under the care of Dr. G Levitin and Dr. R. Ortiz, they are my guardian healing angels! Thanks VBF for not only helping me but also for letting me be a volunteer in the foundation whenever I am needed. A Big Hug to all from MIAMI... Alicia

Alexander G.

Totally positive experience. Dr. Levitin is a great professional. He has diagnosed and treated my nose breathing problem, significantly improving my quality of life. Office staff is very professional. Appointments always kept on time. Strongly recommend.