Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to reduce varicose veins and spider veins. It has been used since the 1930’s and has minimal side effects and downtime. It involves an injection of a solution directly into the vein using a very small needle. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.
You can resume normal activities immediately after sclerotherapy, but compressions stockings are required for at least 48 hours. Ideally you should be wearing compression stockings between treatments to prevent new veins from forming. There is a limit to the amount of sclerosing agent that can be given at any one time and typically patients will require multiple repeat visits. In addition many areas require repeat injections to get the best results. Staining in the area of injection is common but is usually temporary (lasting 2 to 8 weeks), however some people may have permanent staining (2-5%).
Most treatments are successful but up to 10% of individuals may not respond to sclerotherapy. In some cases this is due to the fact that the veins on the surface are being fed from deeper damaged veins that are not seen. Dr. Barry will often recommend ultrasound testing prior to treatment to ensure that there aren’t deeper or larger veins that need to be closed before treating the ones that you can see on the surface.
Sclerotherapy is $295 for 1 treatment. If purchased as a series of treatments a discount will be offered depending on consultation with Dr. Barry and how many treatments you may require.
Alternatives or adjuncts to sclerotherapy may include laser therapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or endovenous laser therapy (EVLT).
Advantages of sclerotherapy: little or no discomfort, no incisions, few complications (safe).
Disadvantages of sclerotherapy: often need repeated sessions, may cause permanent staining (although this can be treated with a laser), allergic reactions, and skin ulcers. These side effects are rare and usually technique dependent.