What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an office procedure in which a sclerosant is injected into spider veins. These veins tend to be very small and are usually less than 2mm in size. The procedure involves a Sclerosant, typically sodium tetradecyl vs polidocainol, that is diluted and then injected directly into the offending vein. The needle is very small and most patients have very little discomfort with the procedure. For those patients that are needle phobes a slight PO sedative can be given prior to the procedure. This is usually not necessary.
Is It Effective?
Sclerotherapy can substantially ( ie 80% effective) reduce the number and visibility of the offending spider veins. The treatment typically takes 30 minutes to an hour. Results may take up to 6 weeks to be final. It is not unusual for patients to need additional treatments in the future. Sclerotherapy often removes the spider veins but it does not prevent new veins from developing.
What is the cost?
Since sclerotherapy for spider veins is considered cosmetic by the majority of insurance companies this is a cash procedure. The cost of the first treatment is $160 per leg. Any follow up procedure performed within the first year of treatment will be charged $60 per leg. In addition the patient will need a pair of thigh high 15-20 mmhg compression hose to wear for 72 hours after the procedure.
What is the downtime?
There is virtually no down time after this procedure. The patient who does not require a sedative is allowed to drive to and from the facility. We encourage no heavy lifting , high impact exercise, or sunbathing after the procedure for one week. This will give the best opportunity for optimal results. Walking is encouraged.
How does sclerotherapy compare to laser therapy for spider veins ?
Although laser therapy is highly effective for ablation of diseased axial veins ( i.e. greater saphenous vein reflux that results in large varicosities) in our experience it is not as effective as sclerotherapy for treating spider veins. Patients who have had both will usually report that laser is more painful, more expensive and less cosmetically effective for spider veins on the legs.