What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure performed to eliminate varicose veins (also commonly referred to as spider veins). Patients typically see excellent results after a series of these simple treatments.
Is it safe?
Sclerotherapy is a very safe procedure as long as it is performed by a qualified and trained medical provider. The sclerotherapy method has been in use since the 1930’s and is well studied, reviewed, and documented as effective. There are minimal complications from sclerotherapy. Side effects, such as bruising, raised red areas, small skin sores, darkened skin, and multiple tiny red blood vessels usually go away within a few days. In some cases, the side effects can take months or even years to disappear, but on average, they disappear within a week.
How does it work?
Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure that involves an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessels and causes them to collapse and stick together, and also causes the blood to clot. Over time, the blood vessels turn into scar tissue that fade from being seen on the outside of the skin. Sclerotherapy has been proven to work and has been used effectively since the 1930’s.
Who is a candidate for Sclerotherapy?
A consultation with a certified medical provider is necessary prior to undergoing sclerotherapy to determine if you are a candidate. You cannot undergo sclerotherapy if you are pregnant. If you have had a blot clot in the past, it will be determined on an individual basis if you are able to undergo sclerotherapy. Generally, those who are not pregnant and are in good health who have varicose veins they would like to eliminate are great candidates for sclerotherapy.
Is it painful?
When the salt solution is injected into the vein through a very fine needle, you may experience mild cramping and discomfort for 1 to 2 minutes. The larger the vein injected, the higher the level of discomfort and cramping. The discomfort is temporary and does not remain after the procedure, it is only felt upon injection, and it is still tolerable even during the painful period.
How long does Sclerotherapy take?
The procedure normally takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of veins injected. The number of veins injected depends on the size and location of the veins and the general health of the patient.
How often does Sclerotherapy need to be performed?
Multiple treatments may be necessary to achieve desired results. In general, it is suggested that patients wait about 6 weeks in between treatments. Some larger veins can take a few months to see final results, so it is important to make a follow-up appointment with your provider around 1 month after your first procedure to decide whether they think more treatments are needed before an extended waiting period.
How long do results last?
Results are usually permanent when sclerotherapy works effectively. Sclerotherapy has been proven to have an overall success rate of eliminating about 60-80% of treated veins. Veins that respond don’t generally come back, but new veins may still appear.
What areas of the body can be treated with Sclerotherapy?
Generally, any area of the body where you have unwanted varicose veins can undergo sclerotherapy. Since it is important to take general overall health and blood clot/heart condition history into account before undergoing sclerotherapy, it is at the discretion of your provider as to exactly what areas they feel are safe for sclerotherapy.
What do I need to do to prepare for Sclerotherapy treatment?
Prior to undergoing sclerotherapy, you will need to have a consultation with your provider so that they can evaluate your involved veins and check for an underlying blood vessel disease. They will also need to take a detailed medical history from you. If you take anti-inflammatories or blood thinners, you provider may instruct you as to when to cease taking these medications prior to the procedure. Depending on which veins will undergo sclerotherapy, your provider may request an ultrasound. 24 hours before the procedure do not shave or apply any topical substances to the area that will be undergoing sclerotherapy.
How much does Sclerotherapy cost?
The cost of sclerotherapy varies from person to person depending on the number of veins to be injected, the size of the veins, and the number of sessions needed. You will need to see your provider for a consultation to determine which veins can undergo sclerotherapy and if the procedure is right for you, and your provider will be able to quote you a price. Please call or email us to set up your consultation. Please don’t forget to ask about any promotions we are running. If you consent to participate in our “model release" we may offer additional discounts on your treatment or package!
What is the recovery from Sclerotherapy like?
You will want to make sure you walk around after your procedure to prevent the formation of blood clots. If you are undergoing treatment on your legs, you will be asked to wear compression stocking or bandages for up to 2 weeks to maintain compression on the veins treated. You can resume normal activities after the procedure, but you may be asked to avoid strenuous exercise for a couple of weeks after the procedure. You will also want to avoid sun exposure to the area treated or use sun protection of SPF 30 or higher if this is unavoidable since the inflammation caused by injections can lead to dark spots on your skin when exposed to the sun, especially on darker skin tones.
What should I expect at my appointment?
Your provider will cleanse the area to be injected with alcohol, and then use a fine needle to slowly insert the salt solution into the targeted veins. Some people experienced mild stinging or cramping when the needle is inserted into the vein, but please let your provider know if you are feeling any serious pain, as this might indicate that the solution has leaked from the vein into the surrounding tissue. After the solution is injected, your provider will apply compression and massage the area to keep blood out of the injected vessel and disperse the solution. A compression pad may be applied to the injection site while your provider moves onto the next vein. Depending on where the injections took place, your provider will apply compression devices and provide you with any post-procedure instructions they want you to follow.
When will I see aresults?
Smaller veins injected will usually see results within 3 to six weeks. Larger veins can require 3 to 4 months to see results. In many cases, multiple treatments are needed to reach desired results.