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    Sclerotherapy for varicose veins

    Sclerotherapy treatment is to treat the problem of purple blue green and red spider veins and varicose veins that appear on your body. These veins most commonly start appearing on a mature women’s legs and they often wish to get vein removal treatment. If the veins are big enough and large enough to be bothersome you can get rid of spider veins with sclerotherapy injection. If you have varicose veins that protrude or bulge from the skin, I would not get these treated in a medi spa or by an esthetician. I would go to a vascular surgeon. In fact, for all but the most minimal of sclerotherapy injections, I would err on the side of caution and use an experienced doctor for the vein injections. While considered safe, there are in fact serious complications that can result from sclerotherapy treatments which I will describe below. Also, for very large veins, the injections may not even be sufficient. You may need vascular vein surgery with small incisions to remove or strip problematic veins. Our discussion here is about sclerotherapy on moderate and very treatable veins.

    Sclerotherapy is a non surgical procudure for removing unwanted veins that don’t function. The treatment has been around for over 100 years. The procudure involves having a sterile solution called a sclerosant or sclerosing solution (the solution used is sodium tetradecyl sulfate which is FDA approved for sclerotherapy) injected in the the vein. What happens is this causes damage to the spider vein which collapses it and causes it to disappear and absorb into the skin. Once the vein collapses it really does not come back, although other veins can certainly form nearby if this was a place where they had a tendency to develop.

    Sclerotherapy Treatments

    The treatment of spider veins with sclerotherapy injection is only mildly painful. Each injection essentially feels equivalent to getting a shot. Depending on how bad your veins are, if you get injected at a dozen vein locations, you will feel like you just got a dozen shots in your leg. A single sclerotherapy session normally takes about a half hour as they carefully inject the affected veins with the injection solution. If you are getting one little tiny vein injected, they may just put a tight bandage over the treated area. However, if you are getting a few injections, they normally compression bandage the entire area treated to reduce swelling and help the vein get absorbed back into your body and disappear. If you get treatment at various places on your legs and/or thighs, this means you may get your leg ace bandaged all the way down including the foot. They might only treat one leg at a time. The treatments can be separated by a few days or more normally a few weeks.

    If you are bandaged, expect to be quite annoyed. You can resume all of your normal activities with the bandages, but you would have to cover up the bandages with plastic, like a garbage bag, in order to take a shower or bath for the next day or two. You may need to sponge bath instead if you are elderly. Imagine having to wear a girdle for three solid days, and this will be equivalent to how it feels to have your leg ace bandaged wrapped for three days. The compression bandages usually stay on for 3-5 days or more depending on the doctor, though anything more than three days and you will start to feel like you have a cast on. The bandages can feel like your circulation is being cut off after a day or two. So just realize that if you get a scelero treatment on your legs you can expect to be bandaged for about three days and so you won’t be able to wear shorts. You will need to wear loose jeans or sweats and socks and comfortable shoes. I therefore recommend that you get these varicose vein treatments during the winter time so that this is less of a nuisance.

    Sclerotherapy Cost

    The typical cost of a sclerotherapy treatment is around $400.00. If you have just a few bothersome veins that are not too severe, you might be able to get them treated with one treatment and a follow up laser treatment to clean up remaining dilated capillaries. If you were lucky you could come up under a thousand dollars. Some women have just a few simple veins to treat. In these cases some times these medi-spa’s have doctors that make rounds to the spa’s for treatments. For a very simple sclerotherapy injection you could maybe get one of these trained people to do it for less, maybe a few few hundred dollars if you were lucky. I have read that some spa’s will charge you per injection and that if you have a small scale vein problem, you could get the per injection rate as low as $15.00 for each injection. You could potentially save alot of money however you need to be really careful who you let inject you. I personally would rather go to a vein doctor who has been doing this for 20 years (and consequently pay more) rather then to a nurse practitioner or someone that is merely trained to do it as one of many cosmetic skills just because they took a class.

    Especially if you have a lot of veins and a large patch or multiple areas on your legs, I would see a vascular doctor or go to a reputable vein treatment center. There is a wide span in potential costs depending on where you go to get sclerotherapy injections but it can be worth paying more money to get treated by a reputable person who has extensive experience. I will say that if you shop the price, it will give you more information and when you finally do choose where to get the injections you could potentially negotiate a better rate for the injections by talking to them about pricing and asking them to match a better price that you may have found.

    Another garbage fee that you might have to pay in order to get sclerotheray is the initial consultation fee. You could pay $250.00 just to walk into a vascular surgeons office for a consultion alone! Usually, you can’t get out of the fee. You fill out paperwork and pay for the consult/office visit before you even get in the door to see the doctor! So, be aware of this garbage fee to see a real doctor! Once you are in and they determine you can get treatment you should be proactive in asking if they can apply the consult fee towards the first treatment or at the very least discount the first treatment. You want to pay $400 not $650 as they would like you to. Your insurance generally will not cover the cost of these cosmetic treatments. It is usually considered cosmetic. If you have medical insurance and a serious problem with the veins where they are causing pain, it would be up to the doctor or medical provider group to determine if it is beyond just cosmetic classification for health insurance reimbursement purposes. Don’t hope to get covered for anything that is cosmetic because you will just end up frustrated. If you have an HMO there is little hope.

    Complications from Sclerotherapy

    Any medical intervention can have serious side effects. For one thing, if you are injecting something into your skin and body, you always run the risk of an allergic reaction to the sclerosing solution. I’ve read that serious side effects from sclerotherapy treatments are uncommon. There are mild side effects, one of which is that the vein might turn a weird color like brown, but hyper-pigmentation discoloration is usually temporary and fades with time. Another side effect is that in treating the veins you can inadvertently cause broken capillaries to form and then suddenly you have to go get laser treatments to get rid of those. These are the minor complications.

    Believe it or not, you can get rather serious complications from sclerotherapy treatments. One complication is that with mutiple injections you can get visable scarring in the areas treated. These could be faint hyperpigmentation markings where the injections were made. These scars however are usually preferable to the ugly red blue veins. Still though, your legs might have some discoloration marks to them and if you have snowy white legs don’t expect the treated areas to be pristine. Little markings can be left behind on your skin.

    The biggest complication can happen if you have a lot of veins gathered and get too many injections in one place. This is a very good reason to get these things treated before you have a colony of them all over your legs. The worse the problem, the higher the complication potential is my way of thinking. At any rate if you get a lot of injections close together something bad can really happen with your skin. If any vein is mis-injected or missed with the needle you can get the sulfate solution under your skin (instead of in the vein) and if there is a lot of injections you can actually get a lifting of the skin and skin death or necrosis.

    If an area treated looks severely black and blue or you see a black area larger than a quarter on your skin you should be concerned. You really can get complications and a patch of skin death in a treated area with one tiny mis-injection. Even an experienced doctor can have a complication. If you have a patch of skin die, you have to have a minor surgery to excise the dead patch and sew the area back together without the dead patch of skin. On a place like your legs, a small surgical scar is unsightly because your legs move so much that scars don’t heal nicely without stretching. If you know anyone that has had knee surgery then you would know what I am saying is that surgical scars on one’s legs generally don’t heal nicely.

    Although complications are unusual with sclerotherapy treatments, you can bet your bottom dollar that they do occur. If you skin reacts badly to a treatment you could require a surgery to excise a patch of skin. I am serious! Again, leg scars are slow healing so any surgery scar on your leg will be unsighly for years until it turns white and even then it will show. The possibility of complications from sclerotherapy is all the more reason to get the treatments done sooner rather than later. You want to treat it before you have a massive area of veins and capillaries, thereby minimizing the number of injections required and the proximity of injections needed. Obviously I am no doctor but I am aware of the complications.

    Just because it is a purely cosmetic thing does not mean that scelerotherapy is totally without risk. Use caution and a reputable doctor. If the spider veins really bother you then be proactive and treat them sooner rather than later. If you have a tendency to get spider veins you may have to go back every few years for a touch up treatment if new veins develop. Save on other beauty expenses and shop at the drugstore to cut costs and put money aside. I assure you that if you get these ugly spider veins treated you will be very satisfied with the result and you will feel so happy that your legs are staying young looking and sexy. It’s not without risk but nonetheless laser and sclerotherapy treatments are in the category of worth the cost, at least in my book!

    Sclerotherapy before and after pictures

    Scelerotherapy treatment of unsightly veins. Example one shows spider vein removal before and after photos. Example two shows varicose vein removal before and after pictures.

    Sclerotherapy varicose vein removal before and after pictures

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