Varicose Veins-- More Patients Look for More Treatments
by CosmeticSurgery.com Staff
As more people become concerned about rejuvenating their appearance, many ask for removal of existing
defects like birthmarks, moles, varicose and spider veins, and tattoos. Thus, those practitioners are busier
than ever. Cosmetic, plastic and dermatological surgeons are also using new techniques to combat
unsightly spider and varicose veins.
Women have always been concerned about the appearance of bulbous, bulging veins known as varicose
veins, as well as the smaller blue, red or purple spider veins.
But when the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery (AACS) requested information from their U.S.
cosmetic surgeon members about the number and types of procedures performed in 2007, they found
several very interesting statistics about problem veins.
Spider & Varicose Veins
First, sclerotherapy, the standard treatment for getting rid of varicose and spider veins, had become the
second most popular procedure in cosmetic surgery. That's not too surprising because 50 to 55 percent of
American women complain about vein woes.
The real surprise for the number crunchers was the 226.3 percent increase in men looking for sclerotherapy
during the last half decade.
(The top five most popular invasive procedures reported by AACS members for 2007 were liposuction,
sclerotherapy, eyelid surgery, breast augmentation, and hair transplantation and restoration. 2007 is the
most recent year for which statistics exist.)
"Fewer stigmas are currently attached to guys receiving treatment for bulging or oddly colored spider veins,"
says Steven Hopping, M.D., AACS president.
Cost of Hair Transplants
An understatement, judging from the impact of another statistic near and dear to mens' hearts: guys have
strayed away from hair transplants, a procedure that has declined among both genders by 42 percent from
2002 to 2007.
It's also possible that more men are comparing bottom lines: the cost of hair transplants has increased an
average of $1,296 during the last five years, while sclerotherapy has decreased by $103.00.
But what exactly is sclerotherapy and how does it work? And how does a man -- or a woman -- have those
tiny, odd-colored spider veins removed?
The leg on the left shows spider veins, and some varicose veins before elimination, yielding the smoother "after" leg on the right.
(Photos, courtesy of Jose Reyes, M.D.)
"Sclerotherapy has been the gold standard treatment for both varicose and spider veins," says Luis Navarro,
M.D., F.A.C.S., founder and medical director of the Vein Treatment Center in New York City.
Sclerotherapy, the most common and oldest treatment for spider and varicose veins on the legs, may also
be used for some problem veins on the face and breasts. Also known as "injection therapy," the doctor
injects a chemical solution into the vein, causing it to collapse. The human body then absorbs that vein while
finding another, healthy vein so that the affected area still has good blood circulation.
Numerous injections are usually done in a single doctor visit. Afterwards, legs are wrapped with elastic
bandages to help keep the veins closed. Virtually all patents can return to their normal activities afterwards,
with many wearing a compression stocking for several days after the treatment.