Sclerotherapy is one of those mysterious words that you might glance at and wonder about. It’s actually just the medical term for a vein treatment used by vein doctors and vascular surgeons to treat spider veins and varicose veins. If you’re self-conscious about wearing shorts or swimming attire and thinking about visiting a vein clinic for treatment, consider vascular surgeon Dr. Charles Dietzek and the Vein and Vascular Institute of New Jersey. We offer sclerotherapy and a wide range of other vein treatments and aesthetic services.
What’s a Varicose Vein?
All veins have tiny flaps of tissue called valves that help prevent blood from flowing backward during the period when the chambers of the heart are refilling. When these valves stop working (the medical term is incompetent), blood pools in the vein below the valve. In the case of varicose veins it causes swollen, tortuous veins. Spider veins are also a type of varicose vein, but a very small kind, that usually show up as star-bursts of red, purple or blue. They are typically found on the ankles and lower legs but may also appear on the face.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy can be used on some smaller varicose veins, and is often the preferred treatment for spider veins. The procedure is performed in the doctor’s office or at a vein clinic. A special solution is injected into the vein with a very fine, thin needle. The solution is not painful to the patient, but it irritates the vein walls and makes them swell, collapse, stick together and scar closed. Over a period of time, the spider vein fades until it is essentially invisible. Sometimes more than one appointment is needed, especially for multiple vein treatments.
Preparing for Sclerotherapy
If you choose to have sclerotherapy, you’ll receive specific instructions. Generally, you should wear loose, comfortable clothing. Be sure to bring a list of your medications, especially anything that might affect the bleeding process. Don’t forget that some over the counter products like aspirin or supplements like fish oil may meet this definition. You may need to stop taking these several days before the procedure. Some herbal products can also interfere with the healing process, so include them as well. Don’t shave the area or apply lotion the day of the procedure.
You’ll need to wear special support hose or compression wraps over the treated areas to help the veins collapse and promote the scarring process. Occasionally patients report hard red lumps, bruising and brown spots or lines after the treatment, but these symptoms usually disappear within a few months at most. the procedure can be repeated if the veins don’t collapse completely.
Sclerotherapy isn’t always covered by insurance. Each patient’s situation is different, so please contact us to schedule an appointment or discuss payment options. Dr. Dietzek and the Vein and Vascular Institute of New Jersey also offer other vascular treatment and aesthetic services like Botox and skin rejuvenation.