Updated on: August 18, 2014
Sclerotherapy is a procedure that is used to treat varicose and spider veins. Sclerotherapy utilizes the injection of a solution that is placed directly into the problematic vein. This process irritates the lining of the vessel, forcing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot. With time, the vessel becomes scar tissue that fades from sight.

The Procedure

Sclerotherapy can be performed right in your doctor's office. In most instances, a 23 percent sodium chloride sterile solution mixed with lidocaine and heparin is injected with a very fine needle directly into the blood vessel. Multiple veins can be treated at one session, depending on the size and location of the veins, and your overall medical condition.

Side Effects Include:

• Blood clots

• Severe inflammation

• Adverse allergic reactions to the sclerosing solution

• Skin injury that could leave a small permanent scar

• Pigmentation irregularities

• Telangiectatic matting - reddish blood vessels that appear around the treated area

After Treatment

After the treatment you can drive yourself home, can resume your normal activities and will be encouraged to walk. You should wear support hosiery or compression wraps to protect the treated vessels. After treatment, do not take aspirin, ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory medications for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed. You should not take hot baths or sit in a whirlpool or sauna, nor apply hot compresses or any form of heat to the injected areas for 48 hours after treatment. You should also stay away from direct exposure to sunlight, sun bathing and tanning beds, jogging, high-impact aerobics and swimming for 1-2 weeks following treatment.

Insurance does not cover sclerotherapy costs when treatment is done for cosmetic reasons. However, if you have a medical condition caused by problematic veins, your insurance company may cover the cost provided your physician provides a letter stating the reasons for the treatment. You should contact your insurance provider to verify coverage before you consider treatment. is a leading resource for varicose and spider vein information. Search for a vein clinic near you today!

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