Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used primarily to treat varicose veins and spider veins. During this procedure, a solution called a sclerosant is injected directly into the affected veins. This solution irritates the lining of the vessels, causing them to collapse and stick together. Over time, the body naturally absorbs these collapsed veins, and they fade from view. The procedure reroutes the blood to healthier veins, improving circulation. It is a minimally invasive treatment that can be performed in a doctor's office and does not require hospitalization. Apart from cosmetic reasons, sclerotherapy can also help alleviate symptoms associated with varicose veins, such as aching, swelling, burning, and night cramps.
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The sclerotherapy procedure itself is relatively short, often taking between 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the number and size of veins being treated. However, the results' longevity can vary. For smaller spider veins, the results can be permanent for many patients, but there's always a chance that new veins may appear over time. For larger varicose veins, the success rate is also high, but recurrent or new veins might still develop in the future. Generally, the veins that are treated with sclerotherapy do not come back, but that doesn't mean new veins won't emerge.
Sclerotherapy is generally well-tolerated by most patients, but some discomfort can be experienced. The pain level varies depending on the size of the vein being treated and individual pain thresholds. The injection of the sclerosant solution might cause a stinging or burning sensation, but this is usually brief. Some patients might experience mild to moderate cramping, especially when larger veins are injected. After the procedure, there might be some soreness, itching, or bruising around the treated areas. If the treatment practitioner uses a fine needle for the injections and applies a numbing solution, this can further reduce discomfort.
The high success rate and minimal downtime associated with sclerotherapy make it a preferred choice for many seeking vein treatment. However, it's essential to have realistic expectations and discuss potential outcomes with a qualified physician. For many people, the procedure offers both cosmetic and symptomatic relief. Varicose veins and spider veins can cause discomfort, swelling, and pain. Treating these veins can alleviate these symptoms. From a cosmetic standpoint, many patients feel increased self-confidence after the visible veins are diminished or eradicated.
The cost of sclerotherapy can vary depending on several factors: the part of the country where it's performed, the extent and number of veins to be treated, the physician's experience, and whether the procedure is deemed medically necessary or cosmetic. If the treatment is sought for symptom relief from conditions like pain or swelling, insurance might cover part or allot the costs. However, if the procedure is purely for cosmetic reasons, it's likely to be an out-of-pocket expense. Consult your treating physician and your insurance provider to get an accurate estimate of costs and coverage.
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