What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a well established nonsurgical treatment of unwanted or symptomatic veins located superficially on the skin surface. It is primarily used to treat spider veins – those small yet unsightly clusters of red, blue or purple veins that most commonly appear on the thighs, calves and ankles.
How does Sclerotherapy work?
Sclerotherapy uses an injection of a special chemical (sclerosant) into a spider vein to damage and scar the inside lining of the vein. This causes the vein to close. Not all veins treated, however, will “take” on the initial session and so those may need to be retreated. Sclerotherapy, unfortunately, does not prevent new veins from appearing in the future.
What are Sclerotherapy treatments like?
Sclerotherapy is performed in the office and treatment typically lasts less than 30 minutes. After your skin is cleansed, very small needles inject the spider veins with the sclerosing agent. Some patients report a burning or itching sensation as the solution enters the veins, but the discomfort is minimal and no anesthesia is required. Patients are often surprised how fairly comfortable the treatment is. When the treatment is completed cotton balls and a compression wrap will be applied to facilitate the healing process.
How many treatments would I need?
The average patient will need 3-4 sessions spaced 1-2 months apart to remove most of the veins. Some patients may succeed with less and some patients will require more.
Does Sclerotherapy hurt and what are the side effects?
Sclerotherapy is a very safe and common treatment for spider veins. Some patients report an itching or burning sensation when the solution is injected into the veins; this often ends before the session is over and rarely lasts for longer than a day. Common temporary side effects include discoloration and bruising, both of which resolve over time (winter is a great time to have this therapy). The sclerosing agent can cause an allergic reaction in some people and can cause a treatable open sore on the skin if the agent leaks out from the vein.