Injecting spider veins or varicose veins with a sclerosing agent is called sclerotherapy. A sclerosant is an irritant applied to the vein’s interior walls to prompt the vein to close. This medical procedure redirects blood from defective veins into viable veins to improve circulatory efficiency. Sclerotherapy is a proven method for treating vein damage and vein disease.

What Is a Sclerotherapy Treatment Like?

Sclerotherapy is a 10-30-minute, non-surgical procedure that is highly effective for spider veins and varicose veins. It begins with your vein doctor locating the problematic vein and elevating the leg. The doctor then injects a sclerosing solution into the vein, which chemically damages the venous walls so that they adhere to each other, forming an occlusion that blood can no longer travel through. 

Creating an intentional clot in the unhealthy vein reroutes blood into veins with more functional valves that are capable of transporting it to the heart. A sclerotherapy vein treatment is both therapeutic and cosmetic, since the vein eventually becomes scar tissue that is no longer visible. By closing the faulty blood vessel, patients enjoy improved circulation and freedom from both the symptoms and appearance of spider veins and varicose veins. Sclerotherapy can treat a single vein or multiple veins and is performed in your doctor’s office in an outpatient setting. 

After the sclerosant treatment, your vein doctor will apply brief external pressure to prevent blood from collecting in the vein as you stand up. There is typically no recovery time involved in sclerotherapy. Most patients wear compression stockings for a few days after treatment to enhance circulation.   

Are Sclerotherapy Treatments Painful?

Sclerotherapy is a precise treatment method that requires no anesthesia and only involves one injection per vein, when performed by a trained doctor. Some patients require a follow-up session, if they have very large veins or multiple veins to treat. The procedure is virtually painless, with only mild burning or cramping sensations for a few seconds at the injection site.

What Side Effects Occur with Sclerotherapy?

When performed by a qualified vein doctor, sclerotherapy rarely causes side effects.

Some patients report the following side effects:

  • Temporary swelling 
  • Minor pain at the injection site
  • Discoloration (hyperpigmentation)
  • Telangiectatic matting (capillary dilation)
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis
  • DVT (deep vein thrombosis)
  • Vasovagal reflex
  • Arterial injection
  • Migraines
  • Rarely, allergic reaction
  • Rarely, nerve damage
  • Rarely, cutaneous necrosis (skin damage)

What Are Some Pros & Cons of Sclerotherapy?

Pros of Sclerotherapy for Varicose & Spider Veins

Sclerotherapy’s chief advantage is that it’s non-surgical and expeditious, since there’s no prep or recovery time involved. This common NJ vein treatment doesn’t cramp your schedule, since it’s completed in 30 minutes or less. Patients typically resume normal activities the very same day.

The US Department of Health and Human Services verifies that this treatment is suitable for in-office administration, without local or general anesthesia. Patients don’t require a waiting period or a recuperation period for sclerotherapy, unlike vein surgery, which makes it a top choice for treating spider and varicose veins. 

Cons of Sclerotherapy for Varicose & Spider Veins

Since each patient has unique venous pathways, risk factors, and medical histories, sclerotherapy isn’t right for everyone. It’s more effective on some veins than others, depending on the severity and tortuosity. Smaller varicose veins and spider veins respond best to sclerosants. 

Some patients’ varicose veins are so twisted or enlarged, that a combination of tactics is required for full resolution. Our vein doctors are experts at combining methods like VenaSeal and radiofrequency ablation with sclerotherapy, if needed, for optimal results. 

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