The sclerotherapy procedure or sclerotherapy for varicose vein removal is usually performed in a doctor’s office. The doctor or dermatologist cleanses the treatment site before injecting a solution directly into the blood vessel. This is done, using a very fine needle. The veins injected in one session depending on the size, number, and location of the veins as well as the patient’s overall medical condition.
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a process which uses a sclerosing solution that irritates the varicose vein, causing it to collapse. When the vein collapses, it fades from view and is permanently removed. Sclerotherapy will not impair blood flow but, in fact, will improve the circulation and reduce the symptomatic tiredness that is associated with varicose veins.
The Sclerotherapy Process
To get a basic understanding about the sclerotherapy, the process can be further broken down in sclerotherapy before and after treatments and the treatment during injection.
You should not take any medicines before undergoing sclerotherapy. Tell your doctor what medications and dietary supplements you are taking. Patients often are advised to refrain taking anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, for 48 to 72 hours.
During Injection (Is Sclerotherapy Painful?)
During sclerotherapy, the sclerosing solution is directly injected with a fine needle into the vein. Upon injection, patients often feel slight discomfort or cramping that lasts a couple of minutes. This is especially true if a larger vein is injected. The process is performed in the doctor’s office by a surgeon or dermatologist and takes about 15 to 45 minutes. The number of veins injected at one site depends on the location as well as the patient’s current medical condition.
After sclerotherapy, you can drive yourself home or to work and resume your daily activities. Walking is usually encouraged; however, other more strenuous aerobic activities are not advised during sclerotherapy recovery. Compression or support hosiery is advised after the therapy. Following injections, you should not take anti-inflammatory medicines, such as aspirin or ibuprofen for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used for any pain or discomfort.
Also, for 48 hours after the therapy, you should avoid the following:
- Lengthy airplane flights
- Direct exposure to the sun
- Saunas or whirlpools
- Hot compresses at the site
- Hot baths
Sclerotherapy Side Effects
Side effects from sclerotherapy are minimal, but may include the following:
- Skin discoloration
- Raised red areas at the injection site
All the above-listed side effects should subside after several days. Brown spots or lines may develop near the treatment site, as well. These spots or lines usually fade away after six months. However, some may last longer or become permanent.
More serious sclerotherapy side effects may involve the following:
- An allergic reaction to the agent used to collapse the veins
- Skin ulceration at the injection site
- The formation of blood clots in the treated veins
- Mild inflammation near the injection site
Always stay in contact with your healthcare provider after a sclerotherapy treatment to increase the efficacy of the process and manage future or potential side effects.
Sclerotherapy Recovery Time
You will not experience any downtime when sclerotherapy is performed. During the 24 hours after treatment, you may wear compression stockings, which should only be removed during showering or sleeping. You should recover from the initial procedure within 48 hours and see visible improvements after several weeks from the treatment date. For larger varicose veins, expect to see improvement in about three to four months.
Sclerotherapy Cost Covered by Insurance
Insurance protection for sclerotherapy varies. If your varicose veins are triggering medical problems, such as aching and leg pain or swelling, your insurance provider may cover the treatments. However, if you are receiving injections for cosmetic reasons, the procedure is normally not covered. The sclerotherapy cost depends on the number of sessions, the sizes of the veins, and the number of veins treated. However, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the cost for one procedure is around $370.
Sclerotherapy for Varicose Vein Care
Varicose veins normally appear near the skin’s surface. The veins represent abnormal, dilated vessels whose vessel walls have weakened. They may appear in twisted and swollen clusters, colored blue or purple. Sometimes they are marked by broken capillaries, called spider veins. By using sclerosing agents, varicose veins can be removed and the blood flow in the legs improved.
Sclerotherapy for Spider Vein Care
Spider veins, as the name suggests, resemble spider webs, given their short and jagged lines. Spider veins may appear on the legs with varicose veins or may appear on the face, on the sides, or next to the eyes. Many of the veins emerge on the nose. at times. The blue and red veins may cover a large or small area. Sclerotherapy can remove the spider veins successfully in a short manner of time.
Sclerotherapy Treatment Questions
While varicose veins can be treated, they cannot be cured permanently. As a result, many patients may need to return for maintenance treatments if varicose veins develop after sclerotherapy. The following questions and answers address further inquiries about the treatment.
Will the blood flow up to my heart after the abnormal veins are treated?
The backward flow of the blood in varicose veins interferes with the normal return of the venous blood to the heart. Getting rid of the veins through sclerotherapy actually improves a patient’s circulation. It also causes less leg tiredness and gets rid of any feelings of heaviness.
Is sclerotherapy safe?
Most patients who receive sclerotherapy do not experience complications. However, some patients do develop changes in the skin’s pigment where the veins were injected. Other patients may experience chemical burns while a few may develop an allergy to the sclerosing medication. In very rare instances, deep vein blood clots may develop or an artery may be injected instead.
How many sessions are usually involved?
A patient may need to undergo several sclerotherapy sessions at each veins site, depending on the type and number of veins treated. Patients may have one or a number of injections during each session.
What is ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy?
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, or echo-sclerotherapy, is monitored by the doctor by using an ultrasound screen. This treatment is used if the veins that are being treated cannot be seen just below the surface. If this option is not offered, patients have the unseen veins removed surgically. An ultrasound image is used to guide a needle inside an abnormal vein and administer the sclerosing solution. When this happens, the vessel lining is destroyed, and the vein is shut off.
When is sclerotherapy not advised?
If you are pregnant or you had a blood clot in the past, you usually will not receive the treatment.