You’ve probably heard of varicose veins, spider veins, or bulging veins. You might even have them and may be well aware of the discomfort they cause. They’re a relatively common vascular condition that affects between 20 and 40 million Americans.
You may not have heard of sclerotherapy, however. If you have spider veins or varicose veins, this is a word you should learn. It’s an effective, quick, mostly painless procedure that has immediate results. Your visible and not-yet-visible bulging or purple veins will be a thing of the past after sclerotherapy treatment.
Twin Cities-area residents are lucky to have a highly-trained doctor close by who is skilled in sclerotherapy. Dr. Afzal at Metro Vein Clinic performs more than 25,000 sclerotherapy injections every year to help people relieve their vascular problems. Before you decide whether sclerotherapy is for you, it’s important to know what it is, how it works, and how much it costs.
What is Sclerotherapy?
In simple terms, sclerotherapy is a simple, in-office medical procedure to treat spider veins, bulging veins, or varicose veins. A trained physician injects a solution directly into the diseased veins, sometimes using ultrasound to guide them. The solution irritates the problematic veins, causing them to collapse and the blood within them to clot.
Don’t worry though, your body is ready for sections of veins to collapse. Blood flow reroutes around the closed veins. They fade to scar tissue, and the visible signs of the varicose or spider veins disappear. Your blood only flows through healthy, non-varicose veins.
The word sclerotherapy itself is somewhat daunting to read or pronounce. “Sklair-oh-thair-uh-pea” is a good approximation. “Sclero” is a Greek prefix that means “hard” or “hardened.”
The injected solution is a sclerosing, or hardening solution, which causes the problematic veins to collapse or close up and turn to scar tissue. With the blood flow diverted, the veins no longer have pressure, and you can no longer see them through your skin. Presto. The results are instantaneous and get even better over time as your body reabsorbs the vein.
How Long Does Sclerotherapy Take?
The exact duration of your sclerotherapy session will depend on the extent of your damaged veins and how close to the surface they are. Usually, the procedure is complete within a couple of hours. You can go back to work on the same day if you choose. Patients experience minimal downtime, although doctors do ask that you avoid aerobic activity such as dancing or running for a few days after treatment.
How Effective is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy treatment is performed in a sterile setting in your doctor’s office or outpatient clinic. Your doctor will use local anesthesia at the injection sites to make you more comfortable. Sclerotherapy has been around since the 1930s and is proven effective for treating varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy is effective when used on the entire length of a diseased vein. So your doctor uses many small injections to close it one section at a time. A typical sclerotherapy session can include between 10 and 60 injections. Physicians often treat the entire leg in a single course to optimize results.
Most sclerotherapy addresses visible veins, which is probably what brought you to the doctor in the first place. Sometimes, however, deeper veins have disease but are not visible through the skin. They can still create problems such as leg pain and pressure or can cause adjacent veins to fail.
In these cases, your doctor will do echosclerotherapy which is ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. The doctor uses the ultrasound to guide them to the injection site as well as to monitor the vein after injecting the solution. Traditional treatment for these deeper veins often requires invasive surgery, so the ultrasound-assisted sclerotherapy is a welcome, less-intrusive option.
Sclerotherapy is a permanent solution. The closed veins never become problems again. However, sclerotherapy cannot prevent new spider or varicose veins from developing in the future. If you are already prone to the disease, new bulging veins may develop.
They can also occur with pregnancy or significant weight gain. If new spider or varicose veins do appear later, you can do sclerotherapy again.
How Does Sclerotherapy Help?
Sclerotherapy is both a medical and a cosmetic procedure. Of course, it improves the look and feel of your legs by getting rid of the bulges and visible purple areas. Your legs will be smooth and flawless following sclerotherapy treatment.
Treating varicose or spider veins is more than simply cosmetic, however. After sclerotherapy, you’ll typically find relief from:
- Aches and pains in your legs
- Leg pressure and swelling
- Burning sensation in your legs
- Night cramps in your legs
After sclerotherapy, you will likely experience some mild bruising or discomfort that may last for a few days. In rare cases, people experience more severe side effects, such as blood clotting or an allergic reaction. Your doctor will stay in touch after the treatment to monitor your progress.
How Much Does Sclerotherapy Cost?
Your health insurance may cover sclerotherapy if it is necessary for medical reasons, rather than for cosmetic purposes. Even if insurance does not cover it, sclerotherapy is an affordable treatment for varicose or spider veins.
The actual cost for your specific treatment will vary, depending on the number and severity of your affected veins, as well as how close to the surface they are. However, there are some figures from 2017 that give you a ballpark idea. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the average cost of a single sclerotherapy session is between $322 and $369.
Metro Vein Clinic Will Banish Your Spider Veins
Contact the professionals at Metro Vein Clinic to get more information about sclerotherapy and how it can eliminate your painful and unsightly varicose or spider veins. Dr. Afzal will evaluate your veins and determine if you are a candidate. At that time you will receive a specific quote for your treatment. Dr. Afzal has done tens of thousands of sclerotherapy treatments. He and the staff at Metro Vein Clinic are waiting to help you, too.