What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is the traditional method used to eliminate spider veins and smaller varicose veins. It involves injecting a sclerosant (generally a salt solution) directly into the problem vein. The sclerosant irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to shrink and stick together. Over time, the vessel will be absorbed by the body.
Am I eligible for sclerotherapy?
Prior to sclerotherapy, you will normally have an initial consultation with Dr. Meyer who will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure.
You are not eligible if you are pregnant. If you have had blood clots previously, your eligibility will be determined on an individual basis by Dr. Meyer, and will depend on the overall health of the area being treated and the reason for the clot.
Also, veins that could be used for future heart bypass surgery will generally not be treated by sclerotherapy, unless the veins have been deemed unusable.
What are the side effects?
You might experience some itching, which could last for one to two days. Also, you may experience raised, red areas at the injection site. These should disappear within days. Bruising may also occur around the injection site and can last several days. Other potential side effects may include discoloration or pigmentation of the skin (also known as “tattooing” – though it is not always permanent).
How effective is sclerotherapy?
Studies have demonstrated that as many as 50%-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session. Less than 10% of patients who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all.
Is sclerotherapy covered by my insurance?
Coverage for sclerotherapy varies with carriers. If your varicose veins are causing pain or chronic swelling, your insurance may offer reimbursement. Sclerotherapy performed for purely cosmetic reasons will most likely not be covered by your insurance carrier.