Spider veins and venular ectasias are tiny blue, red or purple blood vessels that most commonly appear on the legs. Such small varicose and spider veins are generally just a cosmetic problem, and can easily be treated with sclerotherapy.
Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatment
- What is sclerotherapy?
- What is the sclerotherapy procedure?
- What is the difference between ‘sclerotherapy’ and ‘foam sclerotherapy’?
- Are there other treatments for varicose and spider veins besides foam and non-foam sclerotherapy?
- Am I a candidate for sclerotherapy?
- Does insurance cover sclerotherapy?
- About recovery
- Are there side effects?
- Why do sclerotherapy at RIA Endovascular?
- Medical evaluation
- Consults. Referrals. Scheduling. Appointments.
Sclerotherapy is a very effective method for easily and painlessly removing small varicose veins, venular ectasias and spider veins.
Larger varicose veins may be a sign of a more serious underlying problem. If needed, a Noninvasive Vascular Assessment (NIVA) ultrasound can be performed to rule out a more severe underlying problem. This diagnostic exam is usually covered by insurance.
With sclerotherapy, a ‘sclerosant’ solution [polidocanol (Asclera®) or sodium tetradecyl sulfate – STS (Sotradecol®] is used. It is injected into the varicose or spider veins with a very tiny needle. The solution causes the walls of the blood vessel to collapse and seal together. The damaged blood vessel is eventually reabsorbed by the body and healthy veins take over for the former defective veins, improving circulation. Patients may notice that any heaviness, aching or fatigue they were experiencing improves after the procedure.
Each session is approximately 30 to 40 minutes. This spider vein treatment often requires 2-4 sessions to see the complete removal of spider veins. However, the specific number of sessions depend on the type, number, and size of veins that need to be injected.
Eliminating spider veins will not adversely affect your circulation. It may actually improve circulation by removing pooled blood from the legs. You may notice that heaviness, aching or fatigue you were experiencing improves after the procedure.
When the problematic veins close, it allows the blood to reroute to other healthier veins.View our photo gallery to see treatment results.
What is the difference between ‘sclerotherapy’ and foam sclerotherapy?
Both procedures use the same ‘sclerosing’ agents— polidocanol (Asclera® ) or sodium tetradecyl sulfate, “STS” (Sotradecol®). However, with foam sclerotherapy, air is mixed with the sclerosing agent to achieve a consistency similar to shaving cream; the foam is more useful in the treatment of longer or larger veins. With “sclerotherapy,” the solution is injected in its liquid form. RIA Endovascular can provide guidance on which therapy is best for you.
Both sclerotherapy treatments are used cosmetically to eliminate unattractive peripheral varicose or spider veins, as well as to treat heaviness and tiredness of the legs. Sometimes, what appears to be a cosmetic problem may end up covering up a more serious, underlying vein problem. In such cases, other treatments, such as ambulatory phlebectomy, laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation may be more appropriate for your particular situation.
To find out if sclerotherapy— or another procedure — is right to treat your spider and varicose veins, learn more at an initial free screening.
If you determine that this, or another vein treatment is right for you, the next step would to clinically evaluate your legs with a:
- History and physical exam
- Detailed assessment of your legs
- Pictures of varicosities for our chart and insurance company
- Explanation of potential customized procedures for your legs
- Ultrasound – Non-Invasive Vascular Assessment (NIVA) – 45 minutes per leg
Please note that the clinical evaluation is not part of the free consultation, but is often covered by insurance if medically necessary. Check with your insurance provider regarding your specific coverage. Cosmetic procedures are generally not covered by insurance.
Next you will meet with your interventional radiologist, a physician trained in venous procedures, to review and explain the results of your NIVA ultrasound, discuss treatment recommendations, and provide a prescription for compression stockings if needed.
Cosmetic vein procedures are not covered by insurance. However, sometimes we find a more serious underlying vein problem that is covered by insurance. If so, we will obtain precertification for any upcoming procedures from your insurance company. In that case, sclerotherapy may be covered as part of your treatment plan.
You will be instructed to wear compression hose immediately after the procedure.This is very important.
Most patients experience symptomatic relief including reduced leg heaviness and the cessation of itching and burning shortly after the treatment.
You should know that your legs will not look amazing the day after the treatment! It takes a while for the legs to recover, but they absolutely will. The treated veins will gradually be reabsorbed by your body and disappear. See our photo gallery of treatment results.
This procedure treats currently visible spider veins and can not prevent the development of new spider veins.
Most often, there are little or no side effects. Most of these resolve over time. Some side effects of sclerotherapy could possibly include:
- Matting: In approximately 10% of patients, new spider veins will form in the area of an injection. While they often fade in 3-12 months, there are rare circumstances where the matting is permanent. In this case, the matting can be re-injected.
- Hyperpigmentation: In approximately 20% of patients, a light brown discoloration occurs in the skin along a treated vein. While it usually fades within a few weeks, it can take several months to a year to resolve. In 1% of cases, the discoloration can remain for more than a year.
- Trapped blood: It is common for blood to become trapped and hardened in a treated vein. The trapped blood may need to be drained to prevent or reduce hyperpigmentation. Wearing compression hose as instructed after the procedure will reduce the likelihood of this occurring.
Rare side effects of sclerotherapy include:
- Ulcer: A skin ulcer can occur at the site of an injection, which usually takes 4-6 weeks to heal and mayleave a scar.
- Allergic reaction: It is possible to have an allergic reaction to the solution used in the injections.
- Blood clot : If deeper varicose veins are treated with sclerotherapy, a blood clot can form and travel to a deep vein or the lungs. This is an extremely rare occurrence.
RIA Endovascular offers the most comprehensive treatment for varicose and spider veins. Our board-certified physicians use state-of-the-art technology in a beautiful, relaxing and professional environment. We provide complete vein care treatment — both medical and cosmetic — using the newest proven techniques. Our goal is healthy, beautiful legs!
- Board-certified, fellowship-trained physicians who are experts in their field!
- Extensive experience — more than 12,000 image-guided endovascular procedures performed
- We work on veins throughout the body – this is our specialty.
- Dedication to the treatment of vein and arterial conditions – we’re more than a vein clinic!
- In-office diagnosis and treatment, with no need for a hospital visit
- Minimally invasive procedures with quick recovery time – no stitches!
Cosmetic varicose vein treatments are generally not covered by insurance.
If a diagnostic NIVA ultrasound is considered medically necessary to assess your legs, the procedure is generally covered by insurance, as are medically necessary vein treatments. Precertification is likely to be required for vein treatments by your insurer. RIA Endovascular has its own in-house precertification and scheduling specialists to assist in this process.
Call 720.493.3406 today.