Sclerotherapy is a common treatment for several vascular conditions. While it is somewhat invasive, it’s still one of the easiest and most effective ways to deal with issues like spider veins or varicose veins. Here is a brief overview of this treatment method, including a look at how it works, who’s a good candidate, how much it costs, and what side effects that patients can expect.
What does sclerotherapy treat?
Sclerotherapy is an ideal treatment for both varicose and spider veins. While these two conditions are similar, there are a few key differences. Both types occur when a vein becomes weakened and enlarges due to an increase in blood pressure. This increase causes blood to pool in the veins and eventually causes them to become big and tangled. However, spider veins are typically smaller than varicose veins and occur near the surface of the skin.
How does sclerotherapy work?
To see results from the sclerotherapy process, patients must undergo multiple treatment sessions over the course of a few weeks. However, the process for each session will follow the same pattern. To begin, the doctor will use a syringe to inject a saline solution into the offending vein or veins. Over time, this solution causes the veins to close up. This means that the body must redirect the flow of blood, which will eventually cause the spider or varicose veins to disappear entirely.
Each sclerotherapy session takes between 15 and 30 minutes, depending on the number of veins treated and the severity of a patient’s condition.
Is sclerotherapy effective?
It’s estimated that over 90% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy get results from the procedure. However, the process can take a significant amount of time. For spider veins, it normally takes between a month to a month and a half to see a visible reduction, and varicose veins can take up to four months to eliminate entirely.
Who is a candidate for sclerotherapy?
Women who are pregnant or who have given birth within the last three months should avoid sclerotherapy. Similarly, people who are bedridden are not good candidates either. While previous troubles with blood clots or other vascular issues should be a cause for concern, they do not necessarily mean that a person is not eligible for sclerotherapy—however, he or she should consult with a physician before undergoing the procedure.
What are the side effects of sclerotherapy?
While sclerotherapy is not without side effects, most are relatively mild. Some of the most common include bruising, tenderness, and irritation at the site of injection. Additionally, larger veins may swell and harden during the early stages of treatment, but this will eventually resolve. Finally, brown lines may appear near the injection site, as blood sometimes may leak out of the treated veins. For most people this is a temporary condition, but the lines may become permanent in a few rare cases.
How much does sclerotherapy cost?
There are a number of factors that will influence the cost of sclerotherapy—including the size of the veins being treated, the length of each session, and the number of sessions necessary. However, on average it runs about $150 to $300 per treatment.
In certain circumstances, it may be possible to have sclerotherapy covered by a health insurance provider, but this is only the case when a person’s varicose or spider veins pose an actual medical risk to him or her. Sclerotherapy for cosmetic reasons is almost universally not covered by health insurance.