Safe, effective treatment for varicose veins and spider veins
What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment option for spider and varicose veins that closes the affected vein by injecting it with a solution. This causes scarring that forces the vein to collapse, rerouting blood to healthier veins. It typically takes a few weeks for the vein to fade completely. Over time, the body reabsorbs the collapsed vein.
Although sclerotherapy is usually performed for cosmetic reasons, it may also help relieve symptoms of varicose veins. These include aching, burning, restless leg syndrome, and swelling.
Does Insurance Cover Sclerotherapy?
Medical sclerotherapy performed to treat varicose vein symptoms is usually covered by most health insurance plans. Dr. Favata uses ultrasound guidance to inject the vein with a foam known as a sclerosing solution.
Cosmetic sclerotherapy performed to treat spider veins is rarely covered by insurance. In this treatment, Dr. Favata uses a small needle to inject the sclerosant into the treated vein.
Does Sclerotherapy Have any Risks?
Every medical procedure carries some level of risk. However, there are no serious risks with sclerotherapy. Temporary side effects may include bruising or discoloration at the injection site, redness, and irritation. These usually go away within a few days, although side effects may last two to three weeks.
The following possible side effects are very rare – affecting less than 1 percent of patients – but may require treatment. They include:
- Air bubbles: If tiny air bubbles form in the blood stream, you may not even know. Call your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms: difficulty moving your limbs, headaches, fainting, nausea, and visual disturbances.
- Allergic reaction: A very small percentage of people have an allergic reaction to the sclerosant.
Blood clot: The treated vein may form a blood clot that requires drainage. Very rarely, this clot will travel to a vein that’s deeper in your leg, causing deep vein thrombosis and increasing your risk of pulmonary embolism. If you cough up blood or experience breathing problems, dizziness, or chest pain, seek emergency medical care immediately.
- Inflammation: You may experience discomfort, warmth, or swelling at the injection site. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen help reduce inflammation.
What to Expect During Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy typically takes less than an hour to complete. Dr. Favata performs the procedure in her office and anesthesia is not required.
During the procedure, you lie on your back with your legs elevated. After sterilizing the treatment area, Dr. Favata injects the solution into the damaged vein. As is common with most injections, you may feel a slight sting or burning sensation.
After removing the needle, Dr. Favata applies compression and massages the injection site. This helps disperse the solution throughout the vein. If more than one vein requires treatment, she repeats the procedure.
What Happens After Sclerotherapy?
You are able to walk – and are encouraged to do so – shortly after completing the procedure. This helps prevent blood clots.
Most patients needs to wear compression stockings for around two weeks following treatment. Follow Dr. Favata’s advice regarding sun exposure, strenuous exercise, and other activities following your procedure.
You should see results in around three to six weeks for smaller veins. Larger veins may take up to four months. If you require follow-up treatments, these usually occur six to eight weeks after your first treatment.