Sclerotherapy is often the treatment of choice for spider veins and small varicose veins. At Nellestein Vein Institute, vein specialist Dr. Michael Nellestein or sclerotherapy expert McKinzie Wadfluh, RN, performs this outpatient procedure to clear up these veins that look unpleasant and can cause mild itching and burning. With ultrasound-guided therapy, Dr. Nellestein or McKinzie uses an ultrasound system to inject sclerosants into larger veins that you cannot see on the surface. While Dr. Nellestein performs ultrasound-guided therapy, his outstanding nurse executes a majority of the cosmetic procedures. She is well-versed in visual sclerotherapy, a procedure in which she injects sclerosants or solutions into smaller, surface varicose veins that can be seen with the naked eye. Men and women in Saint Joseph, Missouri, and the greater Northwest Missouri region, can call the office or book an appointment online to learn if they’re a good candidate for sclerotherapy.
Spider veins are the visible blue, red, and purple lines that appear on your legs and face. They’re quite small and are usually twisty. Varicose veins tend to be larger and raised. Varicose veins typically form on the legs.
Spider veins and small varicose veins usually have minimal symptoms and are often an aesthetic, rather than medical, concern.
During sclerotherapy, Dr. Nellestein injects a sclerosing solution into the inside of your spider veins. The solution damages the internal lining of the vessel, which seals the vein and stops blood from flowing through and diminishes the appearance of the vein.
A sclerotherapy session lasts between 30 and 60 minutes, depending on how many veins you’re having treated. It’s performed as an outpatient procedure, so you go home the same day. You’re in and out of the office, and there's no need for anesthesia or sedation.
Most people need two to three sessions spaced about four to six weeks apart. Four weeks following your first session, Dr. Nellestein and his team can give you a better idea of how many future treatments you may need to reach your therapy goals.
Immediately following sclerotherapy, you wear compression stockings for about two weeks to keep compression on the treated veins. Refrain from any strenuous activity or exercise for a few weeks after the procedure, too. Avoid direct sun exposure for the few weeks following sclerotherapy as it may lead to the development of dark spots.
You may experience some redness and mild swelling or itching right after a sclerotherapy session. This subsides within a day or two, and over the course of the next three to six weeks, the veins start to disappear.
Sclerotherapy treatment permanently destroys spider veins, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have others that pop up and require treatment, especially if you have underlying diseased veins. Dr. Nellestein does a thorough exam to determine whether you have such veins and treats them to deter the development of additional spider veins.
If Dr. Nellestein, or his team, suspect you have a more severe vein issue, he may have you undergo an ultrasound. This helps evaluate whether you have chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI, which requires more in-depth treatment. Sclerotherapy is offered as a treatment for any spider veins after this treatment. Only once the deeper diseased veins are removed can you expect lasting results from sclerotherapy.