Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins (cont.)

Should any of the following side effects occur, contact your doctor immediately. These include:

  • Inflammation within five inches of the groin
  • A sudden onset of a swollen leg
  • Formation of small ulcers at the injection site.

Allergic reactions to the fluid that's injected may occur at the time of the injection and are rarely serious. If you have a history of allergies, you have a greater chance of experiencing an allergic reaction to the agents. A minor allergic reaction will cause itching and swelling. To avoid any serious complications, your doctor will likely test the agents on a small area before applying the solutions to a larger area.

If you have any concerns or questions following this procedure, you should contact your doctor.

What Happens After Sclerotherapy

After sclerotherapy you will be able to drive yourself home and resume your regular daily activities. Walking is encouraged.

You will be instructed to wear support hosiery to "compress" the treated vessels. If you have compression hosiery from previous treatments, you are encouraged to bring them with you to be certain they still have adequate compression. Department store support stockings will not be adequate if a heavy compression stocking is needed. Your doctor's office can recommend where to purchase heavy compression stockings.

Following the injections, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed.

Also, you should avoid the following for 48 hours after treatment:

  • Hot baths
  • Hot compresses
  • Whirlpools or saunas
  • Direct exposure to sunlight

Showers are permitted, but the water should be cooler than usual. The injection sites may be washed with a mild soap and tepid water.

Sclerotherapy Effectiveness

Studies have shown that as many as 50%-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy. Less than 10% of the people who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all. In these instances, different solutions can be tried. Although this procedure works for most patients, there are no guarantees for success.

In general, spider veins respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins respond in three to four months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before. If needed, you may return for injections.

Insurance Coverage for Sclerotherapy

Insurance coverage for sclerotherapy varies. If your varicose veins are causing medical problems such as pain or chronic swelling, your insurance may offer reimbursement. If you are pursuing sclerotherapy for cosmetic purposes only, your insurance carrier most likely will not provide coverage. You should discuss your concerns with your doctor. If you have questions, please call your insurance company. Your insurance company may request a letter from your doctor concerning the nature of your treatment and medical necessity.

WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

RadiologyInfo.org: "Sclerotherapy of Varicose Veins and Spider Veins."

MedlinePlus: "Varicose vein -- noninvasive treatment."

American Academy of Dermatology: "Vein Treatments: What to Expect Before, During, and After."

Reviewed by Norman Levine, MD on July 11, 2012


Last Editorial Review: 7/11/2012

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