Sclerotherapy is a proven effective treatment for unsightly spider veins and smaller varicose veins. First introduced in the 1930s, sclerotherapy is proven safe and effective with up to 80% of patients seeing full resolution of treated veins.
How Sclerotherapy is Performed
Sclerotherapy requires little preparation on the patient’s part, but may include temporary modification of medications. Depending on the number and size of veins being treated, the procedure may last between 15 minutes and one hour. Treatments may be spread over multiple visits. During the procedure, your vein specialist will inject a saline/salt-based solution into the affected veins. Doing so irritates the lining of the blood vessel causing it to collapse and coagulate. The vein will eventually dissolve naturally back into the body.
Spider veins and small varicose veins may be treated using this method. While sclerotherapy can work on larger veins, the risk of developing temporary lumps under the skin is increased with the size of the vein. Therefore, larger varicose veins are usually treated with other minimally invasive procedures such as an ambulatory phlebectomy.
After the procedure, patients will have few, if any restrictions to their diet and activity regimen. Patients will be able to drive themselves home and resume normal activity right away. We encouraged all patients to walk and exercise after the procedure to speed recovery and results. Further, we will prescribe compression stockings to help with recovery and cosmetic results.
You will need to avoid NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), Naproxen (Aleve) and Aspirin as well as heat (hot baths, showers, compresses) and exposure to sunlight at the injection site for at least 48 hours.
It will take a few to several weeks to see the results of sclerotherapy, depending on the size of the blood vessels being treated.
Considerations of sclerotherapy
The procedure itself is very effective with most patients experiencing excellent results. Some patients will experience irritation that usually resolves on its own within a few days after surgery. Treatment of larger veins may create lumps under the skin which may require a few months to resolve.
Insurance coverage for spider veins will largely depend on the condition and associated symptoms. Because spider veins are typically a cosmetic issue, insurance rarely covers their treatment. However, painful varicose vein that interfere with the patient’s daily life may be covered by insurance on a case-by-case basis. Our billing department will assist in verifying coverage.
Sclerotherapy is not an option for patients who are pregnant, patients on birth control medication or are those that have blood clotting issues.
Whether for cosmetic or lifestyle purposes, we encourage you to learn more about sclerotherapy for spider or varicose vein treatment by scheduling a consultation with one of our vein specialists here on Long Island.