Sclerotherapy is used to treat small, superficial spider veins on the legs. A solution is injected directly into the vein you desire to treat, which causes the vein to collapse and scar over. Blood then reroutes into other, healthier veins. The treated vein is then slowly reabsorbed into the surrounding tissue, leaving behind more clear, smooth skin on the legs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Spider veins of the legs are a common problem, particularly affecting women. These small, purple/red veins can form anywhere on the leg, from the top of the thigh to the ankle, and generally serve no functional purpose. Although spider veins do not pose major health problems, they may cause discomfort. Many people who suffer from spider veins also find them unsightly and often attempt to conceal them with clothing or cosmetic cover-ups. Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment to correct unwanted spider veins of the legs.
It remains unknown why some people are affected with spider veins and others are not. There may be a slight familial predisposition to the condition. Trauma, prolonged standing and/or sitting may all possibly contribute to the formation of these veins. More women than men seem to develop this condition, perhaps as a result of pregnancy or hormones.
Sclerotherapy is a simple, in-office procedure in which a solution is directly injected into unwanted veins. Different types of solutions can be used and the majority work by irritating the lining of the blood vessel which causes them to collapse and become less noticeable. Smaller, spider veins which serve no functional purpose tend to respond best to sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy is a brief procedure and is usually completed in less than a half hour.
Patients report only minimal discomfort with sclerotherapy. Some patients experience a slight to moderate burning sensation immediately after the injection, but this disappears within a few seconds to minutes.
Depending on the severity of your spider veins, you may require multiple treatments to achieve your desired level of improvement. The majority of our patients achieve good results in 1 to 2 treatments. Most veins will disappear within 2 weeks to 2 months after treatment.
Most patients who have undergone sclerotherapy repeat the procedure anywhere from every 1 to 4 years. What typically happens is these patients slowly develop new spider veins as they age and/or or old ones re-emerge and a treatment is performed once these become cosmetically undesirable.
The cost depends on the number and extent of veins being targeted. Most treatments average around $350 per treatment.
We recommend that you avoid shaving your legs for 2 days prior to your sclerotherapy appointment, and avoid using blood thinning substances such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or vitamin E at least 2 weeks before treatment in order to decrease your risk of bruising or bleeding. If you take aspirin because you have a history of heart disease or stroke, please consult with your primary care physician before stopping aspirin. It is also recommended that you avoid excessive sun exposure for 2 weeks before treatment. It helps to wear loose fitting shorts to the procedure and bring medical- grade support hose (compression stockings) or tight leggings with you to your appointment to wear following the procedure.
You may resume normal activity after the procedure, but it is recommended that you avoid strenuous physical activity such as aerobics, jogging, and heavy lifting for the first 2-3 days after the procedure. It is also important to avoid hot baths or showers for 2 weeks after the procedure, and instead use lukewarm water. We advise avoiding prolonged standing in one position after the procedure.
Most patients experience no side effects with sclerotherapy. Rarely, some slight blistering may occur in the skin surrounding treatment areas. These blisters typically resolve rapidly. Patients also occasionally report a small area of hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) in some treated areas. These spots generally resolve on their own over time, and they also respond to treatment with bleaching creams. Other side effects include temporary bruising or small inconsequential clots at the site of the injection. These clots may be removed within 2 weeks in order to allow the healing process to progress normally, if necessary. For patients whose jobs require standing or sitting for long periods of time, swelling of the treatment area may occur. This swelling is treated with elevation and compression stockings.