About Cosmetic Sclerotherapy

 

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a procedure used to treat spider veins and smaller varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment to remove these veins from the skin. With sclerotherapy an injection of a solution or sclerosant, is injected directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel and in response, the veins collapse, seal shut, and our bodies dissolve it over time.

Am I a Candidate for Sclerotherapy treatment?

Prior to sclerotherapy, you will have an initial consultation and examination that includes an ultrasound evaluation of the anatomy and physiology of your leg veins. This thorough assessment assures that you are a good candidate and will receive proper treatment, not only to eliminate the spider veins but also to correct any underlying problem which may contribute to their appearance.

Sclerotherapy treatment candidate checklist:

1. Do not have treatments if you are pregnant.

2. You are not a good candidate if your blood thinning medicine must be taken everyday, for instance to protect your heart.

3. If your ability to walk is limited, you should not have treatment.

4. If you are prone to blood clots, or have a known blood clot disorder, your eligibility will be decided on an individual basis.

5. Anyone who has a severe needle fright will not do well with spider vein treatment.

6. You can have sclerotherapy if you are currently taking birth control pills.

7. Veins that could be used for heart bypass surgery later on will normally not be considered for sclerotherapy treatment, unless they are already decided not usable.

What do I need to do before Sclerotherapy treatment?

Before your sclerotherapy treatment, certain medications should be avoided. Talk to your doctor or certified physician assistant about all the medications you are currently taking (including herbal and dietary supplements, over-the-counter-drugs, etc) If you need to take an antibiotic before sclerotherapy, please contact your doctor and inform him. We recommend avoiding ibuprofen, aspirin, and other anti-inflammatory drugs for 2-3 days before your treatment. If you are taking Tylenol that is ok. No type of lotion should be applied to your legs before your treatment. 

Are there any possible complications with Sclerotherapy treatments?

As with any medical treatment, complications can and do occasionally occur. At Alabama Vein Center, we have worked hard to select the best treatment options available today which cause the least adverse side effects. Some of the side effects possible with sclerotherapy treatments are:

1. Pigmentation = blood pigment will often stain the skin after spider vein treatments. The vein will be eliminated, but a brown discoloration will be present where the vein once was visible. These pigments usually go away almost entirely within one year. Iron medication is thought to contribute to an increased incidence of pigment formation.

2. Bruising = common after spider vein treatments. Resolves virtually entirely within 6 to 8 weeks.

3. Skin numbness = nearby skin nerves are sometimes stunned by the treatments. This too nearly always resolves within a few months.

4. Skin ulceration = sometimes the solution will damage the skin excessively and cause a small ulcer. The ulcer will take 6 to 8 weeks to heal, and may require minor skin wound care such as ointments and light dressings.

5. Veins resistant to treatment, and new veins developing = some veins are more difficult to treat and will not disappear, and occasionally new veins will develop at treatment sites. Both of these problems are rare, and can be treated successfully by additional injections and changing solutions and compression methods.

6. Itching and redness = will develop at treatment sites on occasion. This is not serious, and can be treated with steroid creams on the skin, and anti-histamines if the itching is prolonged.

7. Ankle and leg swelling = occurs fairly commonly after injection treatments, especially if ankle and foot veins are treated. This will disappear usually within a few months. Compression hosiery may be worn in the interim.

8. Blood clots, or phlebitis, will develop in some of the larger treated veins. This is normal and is the desired result of treatment. The veins will feel lumpy or knot-like, and are often associated with tenderness and redness of the skin. This too will go away within two to four months or longer, and is treated with ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medication.

9. Deep vein blood clots = rarely occur after spider vein treatments. Compression hosiery and walking for about 15 minutes after your treatment will help minimize this possibility.

10. Allergic reactions =  an allergic reaction to the solution injected may occur, it would occur at the time of injections, if this happens it is rarely serious. If you have a history of allergies you have an increased risk for this possibility. A minor allergic reaction would cause swelling and itching.

If you have any concerns or questions following this treatment, you should contact our office.

What do I need to do after the treatment?

1. You will be asked to wear compression hosiery or compression wraps continuously for 24 hours. These will be applied before you exit the treatment table. You should then wear the hosiery daytime only for an additional 5 to 7 days. This will give you the best results with the least side effects.

2. Immediately after treatment, with your compression wraps or hosiery on your legs, please walk around for about 15 minutes. This helps distribute the solutions, and dilute any solution in the deep veins.

3. You may drive and otherwise participate in all normal activities, with your hosiery on your legs.

4. Please avoid high impact sports and activities for 2 days after treatment. Sometimes you will be asked to wait a longer interval, depending upon the size of veins treated.

5. You should avoid Direct exposure to sunlight, whirlpools, hot baths or hot compresses for 48 hours. Showers are ok but keep the water as cool as possible. The site of injection can be washed clean with mild soap and room temperature water.

What is the effectiveness of Sclerotherapy treatments, what are my expected results?

We ultimately hope to achieve minimum 50% of injected veins to be eliminated with each sclerotherapy session. Fewer than 10% do not respond to the injected solutions. If this happens, we have alternate solutions that can be tried. More commonly spider veins respond in 6-8 weeks and larger veins respond in 3-4 months. If the veins do respond to treatment they will not come back. But new veins may appear at the same rate as before treatment. If there are scattered spider veins, these usually can be eliminated within 6 months or less. For blue spider veins, treatments may take 1 year or longer to achieve desired results. You will be advised of your and our expectations at the time of your consultation.

How much will the sclerotherapy treatment cost me?

1. Spider vein treatments are considered cosmetic and are not covered by insurance.

2. Each spider vein treatment is $400. A treatment includes sclerotherapy (injection) of spider veins on both legs, front and back, and including the ankles and feet.

3. The number of treatments required is difficult to estimate. Our staff will provide for you our best judgment regarding the number of treatments. Usually, the interval between treatments is two to three months.

4. Please note our policy regarding appointment cancellations. Except for true emergencies, we respectfully request you notify us 72 hours prior to an appointment cancellation.

  Thank you for seeking consultation and treatment with the Alabama Vein Center. Our efforts are to offer you the best and safest treatment options available today. If you have questions, please call or e-mail for answers and we will be pleased to respond. Be patient as we observe the results of treatment, for often several months must pass before we see the results we all desire. We look forward to working with you as we provide this specialty care for your vein problems.