What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a medication is injected through a tiny needle into the affected spider vein or varicose vein. You may have had treatments in the past or know people who have been treated with hypertonic saline (strong salt water). Saline injections are typically painful, are associated with marginal results, and have a high rate of undesired effects. At Siragusa Vein and Laser, we use only the most advanced, FDA-Approved medications including Asclera® (polidocanol) and Sotradecol®. This allows us to perform safe and effective treatment of our patients’ spider veins and varicose veins. This medication causes the unhealthy veins to become irritated and inflamed forcing the blood out of them and into healthy veins. The treated veins will gradually scar closed and be re-absorbed by the body, fading from view. Sclerotherapy is the most effective treatment available for getting rid of spider veins.
What are the Advantages of Sclerotherapy?
One advantage of coming to Siragusa Vein and Laser for sclerotherapy is that Dr. Siragusa first rules out any circulatory problems prior to performing any procedures. This is important because if sclerotherapy is performed without addressing any underlying circulation issues, the treatment will not be effective and will be more likely to lead to complications.
Another advantage is that we understand the importance of treating “feeder” veins, also known as reticular veins. These veins often “feed” blood into the visible spider veins however sometimes they are a bit too deep to visualize with the naked eye. This is why we utilize technology such as the Vein Viewer and the Vein Light to ensure you get the absolute best, most effective treatment possible.
Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
Some veins that are treated with sclerotherapy are invisible to the naked eye and some are just too large to treat with a liquid medication. In these larger veins, the liquid would just mix with the blood rather than making contact with the vein wall. For these cases, we utilize our ultrasound to pinpoint these deeper veins needing treatment and perform foam sclerotherapy. Foam sclerotherapy uses the exact same medications as traditional sclerotherapy but the medicine is mixed with air to create foam. The foam then “pushes” the blood out of the vein and makes contact with the inner lining of the vein, irritating it. The advantages of using foam for larger veins include:
- Foam is visible to the ultrasound, which allows us to precisely place our needle in the vein and watch as the medication actually treats your vein.
- Using foam allows us to treat more veins then if we used liquid.
- The use of foam is valuable for injecting larger veins that would be far too large to inject with liquid.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do sclerotherapy injections hurt?
At Siragusa Vein and Laser we use the tiniest needles that exist to perform our sclerotherapy injections therefore most of the injections are barely felt. Some patients experience minor bruising, itching, or redness afterwards but there will not be any significant pain.
How many treatments will I need?
Most patients require several sclerotherapy treatments to fully treat their venous disease. In general, the larger veins and feeder veins are injected first to determine which of the smaller veins need to be treated. You should plan on a minimum of 2-4 treatments to achieve your cosmetic goals, however patients with extensive spider veins may require additional treatment sessions. In addition, many patients will have new veins develop over a period of time and these may require further therapy.
Check out Marie’s story
How long does it take to make these veins go away?
Sclerotherapy sets the stage for your body to turn these veins into scar tissue that is then absorbed. Immediately after your procedure the skin around your spider veins will be slightly red (similar to a sunburn) and the veins themselves may look worse then prior to the treatment. Over the next several days, the redness fades and the body begins the process of absorbing the treated veins. Smaller veins may be completely resolved after 2-4 weeks, however some of the larger veins may take 1-2 months to fade.
Does insurance cover sclerotherapy?
Typically, insurance companies consider sclerotherapy for spider veins a cosmetic procedure and do not cover it. Sometimes, sclerotherapy is an essential component of our treatment plans for patients with chronic venous insufficiency to help restore proper circulation. In these cases, insurance companies may authorize this procedure. This involves utilizing foam sclerotherapy to address leaky veins.
How long will I be off work after the procedure?
Following sclerotherapy, patients return to work and normal activities immediately after their appointment. You will be instructed to wear compression stocking for an average of 2 days after your procedure to facilitate faster healing. You will also be instructed to not perform any vigorous exercise, hot yoga, sunbathing or get in any saunas or hot tubs for the next couple of days.
If you think sclerotherapy may be a good option for you, call Siragusa Vein and Laser today—so you too can love your legs again.