Thin Blue Lines: Sclerotherapy
A solution for leg veins.
All in all, I made out okay in the legs department. They're long and slender (okay, more like skinny), and they get me where I need to go. But there are the veins. Fine reddish tangles around my ankles. A purple squiggle behind my knee. And among several unpleasant mementos of pregnancy (not including my son, of course), blue bruise-like clusters on my thighs. Which finally brought me to dermatologist Anne Chapas, MD. Her solution: a series of injections called sclerotherapy. Chapas painlessly threaded a hair-thin needle into each tiny offending vein. As she injected a glycerin solution, the vein would disappear—instantly. After 15 minutes, we were finished. I pulled on a pair of thick compression stockings and was told to keep them on for two weeks—except when exercising, showering, or sleeping. "The glycerin irritated the walls of your veins and closed them down; wearing the tights helps keep them from reopening," said Chapas. I obeyed for four days, until an unseasonable warm spell made the tights unbearable. Three months later, I had a second treatment (most patients need at least two to three, at about $300 each). This time I stuck with the tights for almost a week, and the majority of those bothersome lines are gone. The once-dense clusters look like faint smudges, easily concealed with self-tanner. Based on my profile—a pale-skinned estrogen producer with veiny forebears—I'll have new blue lines to contend with in a few years. But until then, I'll be showing some pretty okay leg. —Jenny Bailly