Significant success has been achieved by dermatologists, in improving the appearance of ageing hands by using sclerotherapy, a longstanding treatment for spider veins.
Dr. Mary P. Lupo, clinical professor of dermatology at Tulane University Medical School in New Orleans, shared her professional experience using sclerotherapy to treat prominent veins common in aging hands at the 67th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (Academy).
"As dermatologists continue to treat facial aging with much success, patients are increasingly aware of other visible areas of the body, particularly the hands, neck and the upper part of a woman's chest below the neck, that need to be addressed to avoid looking years older than their face," she said.
"Hands reveal one's age second only in frequency to the face and, as in facial skin aging, discoloration of the skin, fine lines and loss of volume can make the hands look older. Sclerotherapy can help minimize prominent hand veins and significantly improve appearance of the hands," she added.
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical procedure that permanently removes unwanted veins and is considered by dermatologists to be the gold standard for the treatment of spider veins.
The procedure involves injecting a special sclerosing solution with a very fine needle into the blood vessel, which irreversibly alters the vessel wall and causes it to be absorbed by the body, so that it fully disappears over time.
Dr. Lupo reckons that sclerotherapy is more effective and less costly than laser treatments, and can be used in areas of the body other than the legs, including the hands, breasts and face.
She says that the procedure should be performed conservatively, such as using small injection volumes and treating a limited number of vessels, with repeat injection sessions until the desired cosmetic improvement is safely achieved.
The procedure, which requires only one to three sessions performed every four to six weeks, takes a mere five to 10 minutes to perform and its results are usually permanent.
Dr. Lupo warned that the procedure might not be suitable for some patients, including those with a history of phlebitis (or inflammation of the veins) of the arm, those who have undergone a mastectomy with lymph node removal, and those with venous or lymphatic abnormalities of the upper extremity.
"Overall, my patients are extremely pleased with their results and report an improved self-image and overall feeling of well-being that is commonly associated with cosmetic procedures. For patients who want more dramatic outcomes, a multi-pronged approach using other minimally invasive therapies can complement sclerotherapy, such as using laser and light devices to fade skin discoloration or to increase collagen production," she said.
"We also are exploring the use of injecting a dermal filler into the hands to make them appear fuller and less skeletal," she added.