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Leg Vein Sclerotherapy

Q:What are Spider Veins?

Spider veins, or telanglectasias of the legs, are small purple or red veins which can form anywhere on the legs from the ankles to the top of the thighs. They affect primarily women, and may be genetic, affecting several women in the same family.

Spider veins do not pose any major health problems, but may cause discomfort. Most people find them unsightly and attempt to cover them with clothing or cosmetics.

Q:What Causes Spider Veins?

Aside from the genetic tendency, spider veins may be caused by trauma to legs caused by blows or falls, or extended period of standing or sitting. Many women first notice them after pregnancy, so added weight and hormones may also play a role in the development of the veins.

Q:What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a procedure performed in our office for treatment of spider and varicose veins of the legs. A superfine needle is used to inject saline, a sterile solution of salt and water that resembles the body’s own fluids, into the veins.

This saline solution method is considered superior to surgery, electrocautery, (a method using an electric needle) and laser treatment.

Q:Is the Procedure Painful?

Most people who have had sclerotherapy have experienced only slight discomfort. You may experience a slight to moderate burning sensation immediately after the injection which will disappear in a few seconds.

Q:How Much Does the Treatment Cost, and is it Covered By Insurance?

The cost is related to the amount of time spent on your treatment. After your consultation with the doctor, he will be able to give you a better idea of the cost based on your particular situation, but initial treatment is usually around $200 with subsequent treatments at a lower cost.

This procedure is considered cosmetic in nature, and most insurance plans will not cover it. However, you should check with your insurance company prior to having the treatment since different plans will vary.

Q:When Can I Expect to See Results?

Each vessel usually requires 2 to 3 injections. Different vessels can be treated at the same session, but repeat injections are done a week or two after healing. The vessels disappear over a period of 2 weeks to 4 months.

Your body requires up to 6 months to resolve this condition. Your patience is important!

Q:Are There Any Side Effects?

95% of the patients experience no adverse reactions to sclerotherapy, but some minor side effects have been reported. These include slight blistering when small amounts of the saline solution seep into the surrounding skin. This blistering heals quickly but may result in a small freckle-like pigmentation at the injection site. These spots usually resolve with time, or may be treated with bleaching agents.

Bruising will occasionally occur when the veins are unusually weak, but should disappear in several weeks. Sometimes a clot develops at the injection site. This is not a major cause for concern, but removal of the clot within 2 weeks will allow the healing process to progress normally.

Swelling may occur in patients who stand or sit for long periods of time. Although not dangerous, the swelling should be treated with elevation of the legs, and/or compresses.

Q:Are There Any People Who Should Not Have This Treatment?

We prefer not to perform sclerotherapy in patients with a history of inflammation of the veins (thrombophlebitis) or blood clots in the legs. We do not treat patients with a history of diabetes, arterial or vascular problems in the legs, or leg ulcers. In such patients, any light trauma could start a leg ulcer.

There is no reason why patients with high blood pressure or other salt related problems cannot be treated, since the amount of saline used is small, however, we may refer to your internist or general practitioner before your treatment.

As with any procedure, please let the doctor know, if any, medications you are currently taking.