Sclerotherapy is an office procedure to treat spider veins of the legs and hands. The procedure involves injection of a solution into the veins, which irritates the vein walls causing them to collapse and no longer fill with blood, resulting in reduction or elimination of their appearance. Sclerotherapy generally requires 1-3 treatments 4-6 weeks apart. The procedure is done in the office and does not require anesthesia. Burning or cramping with the injection is common but tolerable.
Spider veins may also be treated by laser therapy. It has been our experience that both methods can work well, but that some patients respond to sclerotherapy more than laser therapy and vice versa. We will often start with sclerotherapy, as we have found the injection to be less painful and better tolerated than the laser therapy. If the patient desires, a small test patch with the laser will also be performed so that we may compare the results and determine what is the best option for the second treatment. The procedure can take 15-60 minutes depending on the size of the areas to be treated.
Compression stockings are ideally purchased before the procedure and worn for 23 hours/day the first 4-7 days. For best results, you should avoid high impact exercise or excessive standing for 1-2 days after the procedure. Bruising, swelling, itching, redness can be seen the first few days after sclerotherapy or laser therapy. Fading of the veins is usually seen at 2 weeks with continued improvement up to 12 weeks. Rare risks of the procedure include discoloration, leg cramps, scarring, blistering, ulceration, infection, and vein clots.