A common sign of aging is varicose veins or spider veins, marked by a bulging and corded, discolored appearance. This condition is more common in older adults and requires treatment to remove. Fortunately, as medical practices continue to evolve, more non-invasive procedures are available for patients who wish to reduce their damaged veins’ appearance without traditional surgery.
It is estimated that about 20 percent of adults will be affected by varicose veins at some point in their life. This condition causes pain, itching, and cramping. While anyone can get varicose veins, women are more prone to developing varicose or spider veins than men.
Varicose veins are commonly found on the patient’s legs. However, these raised and swollen veins, along with the smaller spider veins, may also appear in the following locations:
Sclerotherapy is actually an old treatment that has seen an increase in popularity due to the recent advances in this procedure. Using a fine needle, a medical provider will inject a sclerosing agent into the damaged vein. The most common agents are:
Please continue reading to learn more about the Sclerotherapy treatment, including its history, benefits, potential side effects, and getting started with sclerotherapy.
The term Sclerotherapy is a broad term that is used to describe the introduction of medication into a vein for the sole purpose of eliminating the vein. The Sclerotherapy procedure is done via injection and was originally developed for varicose veins, but later became the standard treatment for spider veins.
Interestingly, the first documented treatment of varicose veins was around 400 BC. In 460 BC, Hippocrates had written of using a slender iron instrument to puncture the veins multiple times to induce thrombosis. This has been heralded as the precursor to sclerotherapy itself.
Fast forward to the 1970s and we see the refinement of ultrasound machines gave way to an improved ability to treat varicose veins. The combination of the ultrasound and the medical solution gave physicians the ability to directly target the compromised vein with great precision.
In the mid-2000s the treatment was granted FDA approval. It is important to note that FDA approval is for the actual medical solutions injected into the veins. In addition to spider veins in the legs, the treatment is also used to treat veins in the face, back, breasts, arms, and other problem areas. Scientists are delving deeper into the application of Sclerotherapy for varicose veins, perforator veins, and the great saphenous vein. Pending the results of such research, it is likely that even more concerns related to the vein’s appearance will be remedied with this treatment.
The main benefit of Sclerotherapy is the reduction/elimination of the appearance of varicose veins. However, this specific treatment offers a few more notable benefits that cannot be ignored in a patient’s consideration.
Some of the benefits of Sclerotherapy include:
The 2 procedures went smoothly and my spider veins are diminished and gone! I initially thought the injections would be painful but other than feeling a little itchy, I had no issues.
Finding an expert is as simple as visiting our online community. With AgeEnvy, valuable information detailing sclerotherapy, as well as qualified practitioners for this treatment, is at your fingertips. Keep in mind that your health and safety comes first with any treatment. That’s why our mission is to give consumers control over their health by getting them connected with practitioners that are licensed, verified experts focused on sclerotherapy.
Despite how simple and straightforward Sclerotherapy is, there are still possible side effects to be aware of before you begin treatment.
Some possible Sclerotherapy side effects include:
It’s important to remember that these side effects are considered temporary and will fade soon barring any additional complications. Though rare, it is important to be aware of additional complications that can affect your recovery and may require treatment.
Only a certified medical practitioner can legally perform sclerotherapy. The real danger with sclerotherapy lies in being administered improperly. A skilled, licensed, and certified medical practitioner that specializes in sclerotherapy is your best option for success.
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The total cost of this procedure is dependent on a number of factors. How many treatments, your physician of choice, location and surface area of the damaged veins, and your goals all play a role in determining the cost of Sclerotherapy. Keep in mind that this procedure is considered a cosmetic procedure so insurance will not cover this treatment.
Most treatments range from $300-$500 per treatment. Some practitioners may offer finance packages or discounts depending on their offerings. Consult with your practitioner for any deals available before committing to a final price.
The number of treatments needed largely depend on two important factors. Number one is the number of veins that need correcting. The more you need to correct, the longer the entire process will take before you are done with your treatment plan. The other factor is the severity of your veins. The more severe the the damage to your veins the more treatments you will need.
That being said, most patients get full results after 2-4 treatments. If you need minimal correction, you may get away with 1-2 treatments total. Consult with your practitioner to determine the full amount of treatment you will need to reach your goals.
There is virtually no recovery time with this treatment. Nearly all patients go right back to normal activities immediately after the treatment. Remember to wear your compression socks/bandages to ensure proper post-treatment follow-up.
The main thing to remember is the side effects. While rare, any side effects experienced can result in possible recovery time. If you’re prone to bruising or swelling you may want to take a day off to give yourself a break. Pay attention to any signs of complications to ensure you don’t end up with more issues than the procedure should cause.
Sclerotherapy involves the use of chemicals to kill the damaged vein. Your body will try to “fix” the problem of the chemical injection. As a result, this causes a patient to take six to eight weeks at a minimum to see results. Depending on the severity of the condition, some results may take up to six months to show.
Regular progress checks are conducted to determine your individual response as well as determine the timeframe for additional treatments. Every patient responds at different rates. If you’re concerned about the speed of your results, consult with your practitioner to ensure that you’re on track.
In general, the results after Sclerotherapy is complete are designed to be long-term if not permanent. The length of time for results to last is part of why this treatment is so popular. However, this treatment does not prevent new veins from appearing. Further treatment will be needed to address the new veins.
Some patients may elect to do a touch-up treatment to ensure as smooth an appearance as possible. This may be the case for you depending on the amount of correction you originally needed and how close to your goals you are.
There are many options available that are associated with Sclerotherapy. Some of the most popular options include Venaseal, Clarivein, Varithena, and Asclera. These treatments are non-invasive and resolve the appearance of varicose or spider veins much like Sclerotherapy does. The main differences like in its application. All of these options are a form of Sclerotherapy and require discussion with your practitioner to determine which one is best for you and your goals.
There are also surgical options like vein stripping which is the process of removing the vein itself. This procedure is far more invasive and requires recovery time, unlike Sclerotherapy. Results are inconclusive on which option is better. This means that the decision is best made by you and what you’re more comfortable with.