Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 03, 2023

How Sclerotherapy Works for Varicose Veins: A Comprehensive Guide

Varicose veins are twisted, and blue veins visible beneath the skin's surface. These veins are often painful and can lead to other health problems. One of the most common treatments for varicose veins is sclerotherapy. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to sclerotherapy. You will learn how it works, who it's for, and what to expect during and after treatment.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat varicose veins and spider veins. It involves injecting a solution into the vein, which causes the vein to close and disappear. Blood then reroutes through healthier veins, eventually absorbing the treated vein into the body.

Who is a Candidate for Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is recommended for people with mild to moderate varicose or spider veins. It is not recommended for those people with the following conditions:

- Pregnant women

- Have a history of blood clots

- People with large, deep varicose veins

- People with skin infections or other skin conditions

A consultation with a Port Charlotte vein specialist will help you determine if sclerotherapy is the proper treatment for you.

How Does Sclerotherapy Work?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure performed in a doctor's office. The procedure begins with the patient lying down, and the doctor cleanses the area to be treated. The doctor uses a fine needle to inject the solution into the affected vein. The solution irritates the vein's lining, causing it to swell and stick together. Over time, the vein is absorbed into the body and disappears. Depending on the size of the vein, patients may require many injections. The procedure typically takes less than an hour. Patients can return to their normal activities immediately after treatment.

Preparing for Sclerotherapy

Before the procedure, patients should avoid certain medications, including aspirin and other blood thinners. Patients should also avoid sun exposure, as it can cause discoloration in the treated area. It is necessary to inform the doctor if you have any allergies or medical conditions before the procedure.

What to Expect During Sclerotherapy

During sclerotherapy, patients may feel mild discomfort or cramping. But these skin reactions typically subside quickly. After the procedure, the treated area may be bandaged. Also, the doctor may recommend the patients wear compression stockings to help the treated veins close. The treated veins may also appear darker initially, but this is normal and should fade over time.

After Sclerotherapy

Patients may be able to return to their normal activities immediately after sclerotherapy. However, patients should avoid several activities for a few days following treatment, including:

- Strenuous exercise

- Hot baths or saunas

- Sun exposure

Risks and Complications

Some of the potential risks and complications of sclerotherapy include:

- Infection

- Allergic reaction to the solution

- Skin discoloration

- Blood clots

- Ulcers

Severe complications from sclerotherapy are rare, and most people experience few side effects. Discuss any concerns you may have with your healthcare provider before the procedure.

How Effective is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment for varicose veins and spider veins. Some studies have found that sclerotherapy can eliminate 76.8% of treated veins. However, the success of the treatment depends on the size and location of the treated veins. Also, effectiveness will depend on the post-treatment and the vein specialist's skill.

Cost of Sclerotherapy

The cost of sclerotherapy can vary depending on the number and size of the veins being treated. Also, the price will depend on the provider's experience and location. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the average physician fee for sclerotherapy in 2020 was $413.

Alternatives to Sclerotherapy

People who are not candidates for sclerotherapy or do not prefer to undergo the procedure have other therapeutic choices. These include:

- Laser therapy

- Radiofrequency ablation

- Vein stripping

Discuss all available treatment options with your doctor to determine the best action for your needs.

Finding a Sclerotherapy Provider

When considering sclerotherapy, finding a qualified and experienced healthcare provider is crucial. Look for a provider who is board-certified in dermatology or plastic surgery and has a good reputation. It may also be helpful to read online reviews or ask for referrals from friends who have undergone the procedure.


Sclerotherapy is a safe and effective treatment option for varicose and spider veins. While the procedure carries some risks, these are generally rare and easily managed. If you are considering sclerotherapy, finding a qualified specialist to improve the final results is crucial.

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