Sclerotherapy is a technique performed by a clinician in your doctor’s office to eliminate spider and varicose veins. This is a non-surgical procedure that involves using a very fine needle to inject a small amount of sclerosing medication (Polidocanol) in to abnormal vessels. The medication produces a chemical inflammation within the lining of the vein wall. This will in turn, produce an irritation on the inside of the vein causing it to close and disapperar. As the vein collapses, the walls stick together to form a fibrotic cord. A closed vein known as a “cord” will replace the vein and be absorbed in about eight weeks to several months depending on the size of the vessel.
Results differ from patient to patient and are usually accomplished over a period of 8 weeks. The treated area is typically sensitive and discolored for several weeks following treatment. In time, the cord will disappear completely. Throughout the healing process, it is important that the vein walls remain compressed and this is accomplished by wearing specially-fitted, gradient compression stockings.
Varicose and spider veins are considered abnormal veins. Varicose veins are the large, bulging, ropey veins that appear on the legs and are often painful. Spider veins are the smaller, red or blue, thread-like veins that appear alone or in clusters. Although they tend to appear on the face and legs, spider veins can be found elsewhere on the body, and are treatable in all areas of the body.
Veins most often dilate and become varicose as a result of increased downward pressure on the vein from a point above. The pressure can be temporary (pregnancy, excessive straining) or constant (force of gravity upon one’s own body or one’s own weight). As the vein wall loses elasticity, it stretches and fills with more blood, thus preventing the two valve flaps inside the vein from meeting. The valves are then no longer effective at preventing blood from flowing backwards, thereby creating a vicious cycle of increased pressure on the next valve below it. Contributing factors to developing varicose and spider veins are heredity, trauma, and long periods of sitting or standing and excess weight. More women than men develop varicose veins, perhaps as a result of hormonal influence or pregnancy.
These veins are dysfunctional because they do not carry blood properly and they allow blood to pool. They are a burden on the circulatory system and are thought to be the cause of many symptoms. Once the veins are closed, the body will redirect the blood flow into the deep veins that are stronger and are supported by muscle.
Most people experience relief of symptoms after treatment. The closure of treated vessels halts the backflow of blood, slows disease progression resulting in the improvement of symptoms.
It is performed in your doctor’s office and a treatment session takes approximately 30 minutes.
You may choose to bring or wear a pair of shorts during your treatment session. At the conclusion of your treatment session, the compression hose you bring with you will be placed on your treated legs.
No, activities will not be limited. In fact, you should plan to walk for 30 minutes immediately after each treatment and then resume normal activities of daily living.
No, health plans typically do not cover sclerotherapy since this procedure is considered cosmetic.
First Appointment/Diagnostic Consultation
Sclerotherapy Treatment – each treatment
A typical course of evaluation, diagnostic testing and treatment will cost from several hundred dollars to one thousand dollars – only in special cases is it more costly. Payment is due at time of service.How much does sclerotherapy cost?
- Sun exposure should be avoided for 2-3 weeks post-treatment.
- Exercise is a requirement for 7 days post-treatment—30 minutes per day of fast walking, cycling, swimming or low-impact aerobics.
- Activities of daily living can resume immediately following treatment—dressing, bathing, return to work, etc.
- Most patients experience some itching and slight burning at the injection site. Anti-inflammatory medications such as Advil, Aleve and Nuprin, should be used before and after treatment to reduce any discomfort and facilitate healing. Some patients find that they do not experience much discomfort if they take anti-inflammatory medication one hour prior to treatment time.
- A prescription will be provided for compression hose. Purchase the compression hose prior to treatment as you will be required to wear them following each treatment. You will be required to wear the hose for 7 days to facilitate the closing of the veins.
- Compression hose must be worn at all times—even during a bath or shower.
- After each treatment and when stockings are changed, we recommend applying Arnica gel, which is sold at most pharmacies.