Understanding Medical Problems

Facts About Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

If you have spider veins that have been bothering you, your doctor may recommend that you visit a vein treatment clinic for sclerotherapy. This minimally invasive procedure has become the go-to option for the treatment of spider veins and varicose veins. However, you may have a few questions about it before you agree to have it performed on your legs. With any luck, you'll find the answers to those questions below.

If it's not surgery, how does it remove veins?

The idea that veins can be removed without surgery may sound a little far-fetched at first. But sclerotherapy does, indeed, result in the removal of spider veins without the need for incisions. Here's how it works.

  1. Your doctor will inject a special solution into the offending vein.
  2. That solution will coat the walls of the vein, causing it to close up. This stops blood flow down the vein.
  3. The vein tissue eventually dies.
  4. Your body reabsorbs the vein tissue, and your spider vein disappears.

Does sclerotherapy hurt?

There is a small, but manageable amount of discomfort typically experienced during sclerotherapy. Most doctors will apply a numbing substance to your skin before the injections, so you barely feel a prick (if anything) when the needle penetrates your skin. You may feel a warm, slightly burning sensation as the substance enters your vein, along with some mild aching in the days that follow. Most patients do not need pain relievers, but you can take acetaminophen after treatment if needed.

Are there any side effects to worry about?

Most patients respond well to sclerotherapy and don't develop any serious side effects. Sometimes, there may be bruising around the treatment sites, but this clears up in days. You may also see some brown lines around the treatment site. These are staining from iron in the blood that was in the vein that your body reabsorbed. They, too, disappear eventually.

Is sclerotherapy covered by insurance?

This depends on your insurer. Some insurance companies consider sclerotherapy a cosmetic procedure and do not cover it for this reason. However, if your doctor can make an argument as to why removing your spider veins is the right choice for you, medically, they may be able to persuade your insurance plan to cover the treatment.

Hopefully, this article has answered the key questions you had about sclerotherapy. If you have any other questions, direct them to your doctor or the experts at a vein treatment center.