Average schlerotherapy costs are $200 to $500 per treatment session. While many patients experience substantial results with only one session, two or three sessions may be required to treat a particularly large vein or for the removal of multiple spider veins.
Am I a candidate for schlerotherapy?
You may be a candidate for schlerotherapy if you are tired of the unsightly appearance of your spider veins. Both men and women are susceptible to these veins and may undergo schlerotherapy for vein removal. You may not undergo schlerotherapy if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, bedridden or have a history of significant blood clots. Typically, veins that may be usable for future surgical bypass procedures (such as coronary artery bypass surgery) will not be considered for vein removal.
What is schlerotherapy?
Schlerotherapy is mainly used to treat spider veins, although it can also be used for smaller varicose veins. As opposed to spider veins, varicose veins tend to be darker in color, larger in size, and bulging outwards from the surface of the skin.
Patients should plan to wear shorts or loose clothing to allow the doctor access to the targeted veins. No lotion should be applied to the legs on the day of the procedure. The treatment itself is associated with little to no discomfort. In most cases, lidocaine (an anesthetic) is mixed into the saline injection itself; in others, a separate topical or local anesthetic may be used. Some patients experience mild cramping during the procedure, particularly when the solution is injected into larger varicose veins.
During the procedure, a concentrated saline solution is injected directly into the vein through a very fine needle. Injections are required approximately every inch along the length of the spider vein. This solution causes the lining of the blood vessel to stick together and the blood inside the vessel to clot. Over time, the vessel is naturally absorbed by the body and fades from view. It may take up to six weeks for the vein to disappear.
With schlerotherapy, the removal of spider veins is permanent, although the treatment does not prevent new veins from forming. Two or more sessions may be required to completely remove the blood vessel, or for the treatment of multiple spider veins.
Schlerotherapy Recovery and Healing Steps
There is no downtime following schlerotherapy treatments. Most patients return to work and other daily activities immediately, although strenuous exercise and sun exposure should be avoided for at least 24 hours. It is also important to avoid hot baths, whirlpools and saunas, and hot compresses. Showering is allowed, although the water should be kept cooler than usual. Patients may be asked to wear support stockings for the first few days to reduce swelling and bruising and provide support for the treated area. Walking is encouraged during the recovery phase.
Schlerotherapy Side Effects and Procedure Risks
Common side effects of vein removal include swelling and bruising of the treated area. Occasionally, larger veins may become hard, remaining visible under the skin for several months until they have dissolved. This procedure may also result in "telangiectatic matting," or the formation of small veins in the treated area. Rarely, schlerotherapy can lead to vein inflammation, blood clots, or allergic reactions to the schlerosing solution.