General Information |
Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation |
What to Expect |
Sclerotherapy is a very effective method for easily and painlessly removing smallvaricose veins, venular ectasias and spider veins. Spider veins and venular ectasias are tiny blue, red or purple blood vessels that most commonly appear on the legs. They are generally just a cosmetic problem. Larger varicose veins may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. During a free screening for sclerotherapy, a nurse will make sure you do not need an ultrasound to rule out a more severe problem.
With sclerotherapy, a chemical solution is injected into the varicose or spider veins with a very tiny needle. The solution causes the walls of the blood vessel to collapse and seal together, therefore preventing blood flow. The damaged blood vessel will eventually be reabsorbed by the body. Eliminating spider veins will not harm your circulation. In some circumstances, their removal improves circulation by removing pooled blood from the legs. Patients may notice that any heaviness, aching or fatigue they were experiencing improves after the procedure.
This spider vein treatment often requires 2-4 sessions to see the complete removal of spider veins. The specific number of sessions will depend on the type, number, and size of veins that need to be injected. This procedure only treats currently visible spider veins and cannot prevent the development of new spider veins.
Risks Involved in Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is a very safe radiology procedure with minimal risks. There are some significant side effects, but they rarely occur.
Minor side effects of sclerotherapy include:
- Matting: In approximately 10% of patients, new spider veins will form in the area of an injection. While they will often fade in 3-12 months, there are rare circumstances where the matting is permanent. If this is the case, the matting can be re-injected.
- Hyperpigmentation: In approximately 20% of patients, a light brown discoloration occurs in the skin along a vein that was treated. It usually fades within a few weeks, but may take several months to a year to resolve. In 1% of cases, the discoloration remains for over a year.
- Trapped blood: It is common for blood to become trapped and harden in a treated vein. The trapped blood may need to be drained to prevent or reduce hyperpigmentation. Wearing compression hose as instructed after the procedure will reduce the likelihood of this occurring.
Rare side effects of sclerotherapy include:
- Ulcer: An ulcer can occur at the site of an injection, which can take 4-6 weeks to heal and will likely leave a scar.
- Allergic reaction: It is possible to have an allergic reaction to the solution used in the injections.
- Blood clot: If deeper varicose veins are treated with sclerotherapy, a blood clot can form and travel to a deep vein or the lungs. This is extremely rare.
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Scheduling, Insurance and Preparation
Consultations and the sclerotherapy procedure are done at
RIA Endovascular in Greenwood Village.
To schedule sclerotherapy or a free consultation for this procedure, call 720-493-3406.
Since spider vein removal is a cosmetic procedure, it is not covered by insurance. However, if a more serious deeper problem is diagnosed, treatment is often covered if the patient is symptomatic.
Conditions to Let Us Know About
In advance of your exam, let your scheduler or nurse know if any of the following circumstances apply to you:
- Previous reaction to sclerotherapy solution
- Currently pregnant or nursing
- History of previous blood clots or pulmonary embolism
Following are the preparation guidelines for sclerotherapy. Please contact us at 720-493-3406 if you have any questions.
- Bring compression (medical) stockings with you. (You will have been given a prescription during your initial evaluation.)
- Bring a pair of shorts with you.
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What to Expect
Before the Procedure
Prior to the date of the procedure, you will come in for a consultation with a nurse who is specially trained to do sclerotherapy. You will fill out paperwork and consent forms so the staff will know your medical history. The nurse may determine that you need to have an ultrasound or noninvasive vascular assessment to check for varicose veins or blood clots.
During the Procedure
Here is generally what will happen during endovenous laser therapy:
- A nurse will take your blood pressure and temperature.
- You will change into the shorts that you brought with you.
- The nurse will answer your questions. She may take photos of your legs to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment.
- Using a syringe and a very tiny needle, the nurse will inject each vein with the sclerotherapy solution. Larger veins are usually done first. You may need to change positions several times on the table, lying both on your back and your stomach, to allow access to all the affected veins.
- After the treatment is complete, you will put on the compression stockings and change back into your normal clothes.
You will feel little or no pain throughout the procedure, which may include up to 40 separate injections.
Only a limited amount of solution can be injected in one session. The session will end after all veins are treated or the allotted amount of solution is used. A typical session takes 30-60 minutes. You will likely have to come in for more than one session.
After the Procedure
You will need to wear the compression stockings for a week; continuously for the first 48 hours. It's recommended that you walk, but you may need to avoid strenuous activities for a day or two.
Some people experience the following at the injection sites:
- Mild pain
Itching, cramping, and pain will subside quickly. Bruising and discoloration may last for two or three weeks.
If you need to have multiple sclerotherapy sessions, you will need to wait 3-4 weeks between sessions.
You will have a follow-up visit after your last session. Photos of your legs may be taken again to keep in your file.
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Before & After Photos
Following are before and after photos of a patient who had sclerotherapy.
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