confident woman after sclerotherapy treatment

Sclerotherapy Treatment

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What is Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy 101

In sclerotherapy treatments, a series of microinjections of a solution (“sclerosant”) are administered directly into varicose veins or spider veins. The injected solution closes off veins with abnormal valves. Over time, the treated veins shrink and are eventually absorbed by your body. Blood flow naturally reroutes itself into healthy veins, improving circulation and eliminating the root cause, as well as the symptoms of vein disease.

Treatment may or may not involve ultrasound to either map your venous system for diagnosis or to provide a live view of your veins. Physicians usually utilize ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy to treat larger varicose veins. For smaller spider veins closer to the skin’s surface, ultrasound guidance is usually not necessary and visual inspection is sufficient.

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Why Sclerotherapy?

Benefits of sclerotherapy for spider veins.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to sclerotherapy, but there are some key benefits to this customized treatment option for spider veins:

  • It’s safe, proven, does not require hospitalization.
  • Treats spider veins as well as ropey, bulging varicosities.
  • Sclerotherapy treatment sessions usually take less than an hour.
  • Patients describe a sensation of light pinches, some burning and itching.
  • Recovery time is generally very short—most people are back to their regular routine the same day.

Sclerotherapy may be used on its own or in conjunction with endovenous thermal or adhesive ablation procedures. Your vein specialist will customize a treatment plan designed to improve your health and allow you to return to your active lifestyle as quickly as possible.

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Cost of Sclerotherapy

Costs for sclerotherapy depend on a few different factors.

The price of a sclerotherapy treatment varies depending on the physician’s diagnosis of the vein issue, as well as insurance coverage. Because treating vein disease is our specialty, we work with patients to discuss payment options that best fit your needs. Two popular options we have are CareCredit® and Flex Spend Accounts (FSA/HSA).

  • CareCredit® is a credit card made for out-of-pocket healthcare costs when insurance doesn’t fully cover treatments.
  • FSA and HSA are other options that may allow for reimbursement of health-related treatments and expenses, including those for vein disorders. However, always check with your plan’s administrator for options. For more information, visit our Financial Assistance page.

Potential Risks of Sclerotherapy Treatment

While uncommon, with surgery there is always a potential risk.

The risks of sclerotherapy are small and most are very rare, as this is a proven safe treatment performed multiple times a day at our vein clinics across the country. Some possible risks of sclerotherapy treatment include:

  • Infection
  • Allergic reaction to solution
  • Formation of blood clots
  • Intraarterial injection

How to Prepare for Sclerotherapy Treatment

Sclerotherapy is minimally invasive, and requires little to no preparation from the patient.

Following your consultation, and ultrasound appointment, if needed, your vein specialist will meet with you to share your customized treatment plan. They will provide an overview of the procedure, what you can expect, how to prepare for it, and what to expect following the procedure.

Although these will vary based on whether your provider is treating spider veins or varicose veins, here’s what to expect the night before and day of your sclerotherapy procedure:

The night before treatment:

  • Get plenty of sleep, stay hydrated, and pack your compression stockings to bring to the office for the appointment!

The day of treatment:

  • Take medications as directed, eat meals as you normally would and drink plenty of water. If you have been prescribed compression stockings, do not wear them on the day of procedure.
  • Once you arrive at the office and check in, you will be escorted to a changing room where you will be asked to change into disposable shorts. Once ready, pre-procedure photos will be taken of your leg and you will then be escorted into the procedure room.
  • Your leg will be cleaned and your provider will walk you through each step in the process with as much or little detail as you would like.
  • The appointment time will be approximately one hour but the procedure time will be approximately 15-20 minutes.
  • You will feel a light pinching as local anesthesia is injected just below the skin and you may feel a slight burning or itching sensation as the medication is injected into your vein.
  • Once the procedure is complete, they will clean and bandage your leg and help you put on your compression stocking.
  • Once you change and check out, you can return to most normal activities right away.
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Sclerotherapy Side Effects

See possible side effects of sclerotherapy treatment.

Although rare, the primary side effect is an allergy to the medication used (sclerosant or anesthesia). Immediately following the procedure, you may experience the following:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort and rash from the compression stocking

Sclerotherapy Recovery

Recovery from sclerotherapy is minimal.

In order to ensure a smooth recovery, you will be given take home instructions which will outline what you can expect, what to do, as well as what not to do. Examples are below but these may differ based on your vein size, history, and provider preference.

What to expect immediately following the procedure:

  • Discomfort, itching, some slight burning which improves with movement.
  • Redness, warmth at the injection sites.
  • Some bruising may occur at the injection sites.

What TO do (day 1-5) after the procedure:

  • Take 2-3 20 minute brisk walks each day.
  • Wear compression stockings during the day.
  • Take over-the-counter pain or NSAID as needed.
  • Apply ice over areas of discomfort as needed.

What NOT to do (day 1-5) after the procedure:

  • Take hot baths or sit in a hot tub.
  • Go swimming in a pool or any body of water.
  • Long distance running or high intensity training.
  • Long travel (plane, long car drives).

What to expect weeks following the procedure:

  • You will begin to see spider veins fade, and your symptoms will begin to improve.
  • If varicose veins were treated, you may begin to notice they feel like a hard rope, rather than the soft veins they were prior to treatment.
  • You may also notice that they are changing color to a darker tone – this is a normal part of the healing process and will fade over time in color and texture.

If you are interested in sclerotherapy treatment for your varicose or spider veins, get in touch with Vein Clinics of America.

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Real Patients, real results

I had some veins on my calf that were swollen and ugly looking. With the procedures I had done, those ugly veins are gone! I also had more work done on both of my legs. I am so happy with the results. Took 20 years off my legs!
Dorthy, Beachwood

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