This 48 year old patient presents with extensive lower leg varicose vein disease and associated pigmentation of the skin. She was treated with Endovenous Laser Ablation and Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy.
The follow up photo was taken 4 months following her treatment and illustrates a massive improvement in the appearance of the leg. The pigmentation is resolving and will completely disappear in time.
It is important to note that visible pigmentation (skin discolouration) can represent one of 2 things:
- Severe varicose veins – where the pressure in the varicose vein is so great that blood is pushed into the very fine surface capillaries of the skin. If blood pools in the surface capillaries, Haemosiderin (Iron) in the blood can leak into the skin and stain it, as illustrated in the before photo.
- Post Sclerotherapy Healing – as the body gradually absorbs and eliminates the treated veins, haemosiderin (iron) is deposited into the superficial skin layer. This occurs because our immune system breaks down the dead vein and the dead blood within that vein, thereby releasing iron pigment into the skin.
Haemosiderin Pigmentation following sclerotherapy eventually resolves but can take up to 6-12 months or more to do so. Patients having treatment for their veins are reassured that it will eventually disappear and are monitored over time.
Haemosiderin Pigmentation associated with Varicose Veins, on the other hand, progressively worsens if the veins are left untreated. If the disease process continues, other complications are very likely to occur and may include Ulcers and Thickened, Malformed skin referred to as “Panniculitis”. This will be discussed in a future blog entry.