What if you could make those unsightly spider or varicose veins just disappear? You can! With vein sclerotherapy! We’ll tell you everything you need to know, so you can make the right choice for you.
Vein Sclerotherapy – All You Need to Know
How Does Vein Sclerotherapy Work?
Your practitioner injects a solution (usually a salt solution) directly into the varicose or spider vein. This solution irritates the blood vessel lining, which causes it to collapse in on itself and the blood to clot. The blood is redirected into healthy veins, and the unhealthy vein turns into scar tissue that eventually fades away.
Who is Sclerotherapy for?
Vein sclerotherapy is a simple procedure, but you’ll need to consult with a vein specialist prior to getting the procedure. The vein specialist will decide if you’re a good candidate for the procedure during the initial consultation.
Here are a few reasons that your specialist may decide that vein sclerotherapy isn’t the right option for you:
- When you’re pregnant, you must wait until after the baby is born to have vein sclerotherapy.
- If you have a blood clot or have a history of blood clots, the overall health of the treatment area and the reason for the clot will decide your eligibility for vein sclerotherapy.
- When a vein has the potential to be used for future heart bypass surgery it’s not considered appropriate for sclerotherapy.
What Kinds of Veins Can Sclerotherapy Treat?
Sclerotherapy is perfect for treating tiny spider veins on the face or legs and larger varicose veins in the legs. It takes three to six weeks for spider veins to disappear and three to four months for varicose veins to go away. Once they’re gone, they’re gone for good!
How Effective is Vein Sclerotherapy?
Research suggests that 50-80% of varicose veins treated using sclerotherapy disappear. Studies have shown that sclerotherapy removes spider veins in 75-90% of cases. Optimal results require multiple treatments. Less than 10% of people do not respond at all. If you’re one of the few that don’t respond, different solutions can be tried.
How Safe is Vein Sclerotherapy?
Experts consider sclerotherapy to be a safe procedure. It’s less invasive and risky than surgery because it requires no anesthesia.
As with all medical procedures, vein sclerotherapy has its side effects.
The milder effects include:
- Itching for one or two days after the procedure
- Raised, red areas at the injection site that should disappear within a few days
- Bruising around the injection site that can last several days or weeks
More severe side effects:
- Larger, treated veins may become lumpy and hard and require several months to dissolve and fade.
- Brown lines or spots may appear in the treatment area. These may disappear within three to six months or last indefinitely.
- New, tiny blood vessels may appear at the site of vein sclerotherapy treatment. These may occur after a few days or even weeks, but they should fade within three to 12 months.
Side effects that require immediate attention by a doctor include:
- Inflammation within five inches of the groin
- A leg suddenly swelling up
- Small ulcers forming at the injection site
Can Vein Sclerotherapy Cause an Allergic Reaction?
It’s a rare occurrence, but some people have an allergic reaction to the fluid that’s injected. It usually occurs at the time of the injection, but is rarely serious. A history of allergies increases your risk of having an allergic reaction to the solution. The allergic reaction usually causes some minor itching and swelling. Your doctor can test the solution on a small area to see if you have a reaction before applying it to a larger area.
If you prefer to talk with us about any of the above information, do contact us now for an appointment. But otherwise, read on to understand how the procedure will look when you go ahead.
Sclerotherapy Procedure: Beforehand
There really isn’t much prep work that needs to be done before your sclerotherapy procedure. The primary concern is medications. You and your vein specialist will discuss all of the medications, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements you’re taking. This is to ensure that none of them will cause an adverse reaction. If you’re taking something that could be problematic, you’ll need to avoid it prior to your appointment.
You should avoid even things like aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil, Motrin, and Nuprin), or other anti-inflammatory drugs for 48-72 hours before your sclerotherapy appointment. Tylenol works differently than anti-inflammatories, so should not affect the procedure.
The only other thing to avoid pre-procedure is lotion. Do not apply lotion or moisturizers to the treatment area before the procedure.
Sclerotherapy: the Procedure
Your vein specialist performs your sclerotherapy in the office. The procedure itself takes approximately 15-30 minutes. After you get comfortable, your specialist will inject the solution directly into the vein using a very fine needle. You may feel some mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes. You’ll probably require more than one injection depending on the size and location of the veins, and your general medical condition.
Sclerotherapy Procedure: Afterwards
Since this is a minimally invasive, in-office procedure, you’ll be able to drive yourself home and resume your daily activities.
Although walking is good, more moderate exercise should be avoided for a few days post-procedure. Other post-procedure recommendations include:
- Wearing compression hosiery or socks to “compress” the treated vessels.
- Avoiding aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 48 hours. If you need a pain reliever, Tylenol can be used.
- Avoiding hot baths, hot compresses, whirlpools, saunas, and direct exposure to sunlight for 48 hours after the procedure.
- Keeping your shower water cool.
- Using mild soap and tepid water to wash injections sites.
How Much Does Vein Sclerotherapy Cost?
According to a 2020 study performed by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average cost of sclerotherapy is $413. Of course, the actual price depends on where you live, what you need done, and which clinic you use.
Insurance coverage varies depending on your policy and the reason that you’re having the procedure. If you have varicose veins that are causing medical problems like pain or chronic swelling, your insurance company may reimburse you. But insurance does not cover sclerotherapy procedures performed for cosmetic purposes only.
You may need to do a little back and forth between the doctor and the insurance company before you have an answer. (That’s why we recommend going to a vein clinic like ours that has team members who specialize in insurance coverage.)
Are you ready to quickly and efficiently treat your varicose and spider veins? Contact us at Denver Vein Center today!