Sclerotherapy effectively treats varicose and "spider" veins. It's often considered the treatment of choice for small varicose veins. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein. The sclerotherapy solution causes the vein to scar and collapse, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into local tissue and eventually fades.
How is the procedure performed?
The treatment area will be sterilized, then injecting the sclerosant into first the larger veins, then smaller ones, monitoring the progress of the chemical throughout the process. For every inch of vein treated, one injection will likely be administered. Since the injection needle is so small, patients often feel little to no discomfort and do not need any anesthesia. The injection process typically is complete in just 15 to 60 minutes. A minor stinging or burning sensation is common during and right after the injections are made but quickly subsides.
There is no formal regimen for the preparation of sclerotherapy, although we do highly recommend that patients stop taking aspirin or other blood thinning drugs, vitamins, ibuprofen, fish oils, herbs, non-steroidal inflammatory drugs, such as arthritis medicine for 2 days before and 2 days after your treatment because these medications can increase bruising. We also recommend not to drink alcoholic beverages and not to smoke for 2 days before and 2 days after because they may impair your healing process. We also suggest you do not apply any cream, lotion, oil or self-tanners to your legs the night before your procedure.
Post Sclerotherapy treatment
Any discomfort can be easily managed with over the counter pain medications. After the treatment is finished, a bandage will be applied and the use of compression or support hose for at least a few days. Some mild bruising, itching, and swelling at the injection site is normal, but otherwise side effects are uncommon. You should not participate in any strenuous activity for 72 hours after treatment. Treated veins tend to fade within a few weeks, although occasionally it may take up to a couple months to see the full results.
What are side effects of sclerotherapy?
Because the procedure is minimally-invasive, very few side effects are associated with it. Some minor itching and burning immediately after the treatment is normal and quickly fades. In rare cases allergic reactions, or possible infection at the injection site.
How many sclerotherapy treatments are required?
In some instances, several sclerotherapy treatments may be needed. The number of sessions required depends on the depth, number, and size of the veins being treated. While some patients are happy with the results after just one treatment, others may desire further injections for the optimal effect. These follow up treatments should be spaced at least four weeks apart so that the effects of the previous treatment can be accurately evaluated before injecting more.
Can anyone undergo sclerotherapy?
Nearly everyone with small unsightly veins is eligible for treatment, unless they are pregnant, breastfeeding, individuals with skin infections, insulin dependent diabetes, a history of deep vein thrombosis, crippling osteoarthritis, severe bronchial asthma, advanced lupus, blood clots or those who are taking anticoagulants or corticosteroids should not have sclerotherapy. If you are unsure of your candidacy, call us for a free consultation and personal evaluation.
Does insurance cover sclerotherapy?
Most insurance providers DO NOT cover cosmetic procedures, including sclerotherapy because it is not deemed a medically necessary procedure. If the patient is experiencing negative medical side effects such as pain as a result of the dysfunctional vein, the procedure may be covered to an extent. Talk to your insurance carrier for more information.
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