Leg veins, including smaller varicose veins and spider veins are most often treated by sclerotherapy. In the recent years, lasers have been developed to treat smaller leg veins, including spider veins, with good results. Today, sclerotherapy still remains the “gold standard” and is often the most cost-effective treatment of smaller veins.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a method used to rid legs of spider veins and varicose veins. With this method, a solution is injected into the veins using a tiny needle.
Does it hurt?
Some minor discomfort is felt during the procedure. A slight burning may be felt with the treatment of larger veins, although nearly all patients tolerate the procedure well with minimal complaints.
When will I see the results?
Results may take up to six or more weeks to be fully appreciated.
Will all of the veins go away?
No!!! Although the medication may be placed in all of the bothersome veins, a reaction must occur within the veins to make them go away. Most patients will have a 50% reduction (range of 20% to 80%) of leg and spider veins after each treatment session.
How many treatment sessions are needed?
That varies from patient to patient. Most patients will need approximately 3 sessions (range of 1 to 8 sessions) to remove most veins.
Does insurance cover sclerotherapy?
Most insurance carriers consider the treatment of spider veins and most leg veins cosmetic. Therefore, they do not cover treatment. Some insurance companies will pay for the treatment of larger veins under certain circumstances, such as ulceration of the legs or inflammation.
Do I have to wear any special dressings or garments after the procedure?
Yes. The doctor will have the treated areas wrapped in a special dressing. This dressing need be worn for at least 3 hours. It is recommended that patients wear support hose for three weeks (especially after the treatment of large veins).
Can leg veins treated with a laser?
Yes. Although, sclerotherapy still remains the safest and most effective treatment for most patients. When appropriate, your doctor may suggest laser be used.
Can larger veins (varicose veins) be treated using a laser?
Usually not. The laser works best at treating small spider veins.
What are the risks of using a laser to treat spider veins?
Most lasers that are used to treat spider veins can cause permanent whitening of the skin overlying the veins. Therefore, with these lasers it is best to treat patients with light-colored skin. Newer lasers and techniques are now available which allows for treatment of darker skin.
What is foam sclerotherapy?
Foam sclerotherapy utilizes detergent (soap) solutions. Using a mixture of air and detergent solution, the mixture of air and solution is shaken making bubbles. These bubbles are injected into veins. This technique has allowed for the successful treatment of medium-sized veins, thus reducing the need for surgical stripping.