Is Sclerotherapy Painful? Harvard Vein Specialist Explains
May 5, 2019
What is Sclerotherapy and is Sclerotherapy Painful?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for vein disease. It is a much safer option than surgery and is usually very effective for treating varicose veins, spider veins, and chronic venous insufficiency.
During a sclerotherapy session, a vein doctor uses a catheter to insert a salt solution into a damaged vein. This solution, known as sclerosant, causes a clot to form in the vein, blocking the flow of blood. The blood vessel collapses, reducing the unsightly appearance of spider veins or varicose veins. Once the veins affected by vein disease have been closed, the body can reroute blood through healthy blood vessels to return it to the heart.
When you come to the Vein Treatment Center for sclerotherapy treatment for your varicose veins, your expert vein doctor will ask you to lie down and elevate your leg so that blood can drain out of it. The doctor will then inject the sclerosant into your spider veins or varicose veins. The procedure takes between 10 and 30 minutes, depending on the size and number of veins you need to have treated.
Unlike surgery to remove varicose veins, sclerotherapy does not require a general anesthetic. That means you can go home right after the procedure. Your vein doctor will give you some compression stockings to wear for between one and three weeks to apply pressure to the legs and prevent blood from pooling back into the treated blood vessels.
Does Sclerotherapy Hurt?
Some people experience a localized cramping or burning sensation after their vein doctor injects the sclerosant. This feeling usually only lasts a few seconds and most people would say sclerotherapy is not painful.
Experienced vein doctors use lidocaine to numb the area before giving the injection. This local anesthetic blocks sensations so the treatment is not painful. Lidocaine is what dentists use to block the pain of the drill when filling cavities in your teeth. If you can tolerate having a cavity filled, you have nothing to worry about with sclerotherapy, which is arguably even less invasive. If you do experience discomfort during the procedure, let your vein doctor know. Experienced vein doctors can take steps to keep you as comfortable as possible while treating your spider veins and varicose veins.
Is Sclerotherapy Less Painful Than Other Treatments?
Sclerotherapy is much easier and faster than having surgery to treat your varicose veins. It is minimally invasive, as only a very tiny incision needs to be made in the skin to insert the catheter. As there is no need for a general anesthetic, you won’t have to deal with any of the risks or side effects of being put to sleep for surgery. In fact, you can leave the clinic right after your procedure.
Other technologies exist for treating varicose veins, spider veins, and chronic venous insufficiency. For example, some treatments use laser energy or heat to close up the vein. However, for many people, sclerotherapy is the fastest and easiest option.
How to Access Sclerotherapy
It is very important to have your veins evaluated by an experienced vein doctor before you undergo any procedures to treat them. Varicose veins are sometimes a symptom of an underlying problem that needs to be addressed. Only an experienced vein doctor can determine what is causing your varicose veins and let you know which treatment options are the most suitable for you. During the consultation, you will have chance to discuss any concerns you might have, such as whether the procedure is likely to be painful.
Book a Consultation
Scheduling a consultation with one of our vein treatment experts is one of the best ways to determine the proper resolution for your varicose veins. The treatments can include sclerotherapy, laser or radiofrequency ablation, a medication called Varithena, or procedures such as Venaseal, or Clarivein.
Types of Sclerotherapy
Vein doctors use sclerotherapy in two different ways.
First, it can be a cosmetic treatment of unsightly veins on the surface of the skin. This cosmetic procedure is usually not covered by insurance, although many people think the cost is worthwhile to be rid of unwanted spider veins.
Vein doctors also use sclerotherapy to treat underlying chronic venous insufficiency, which is where blood pools in the legs because the veins are too damaged to make it flow back to the heart. This treatment is usually covered by insurance depending on the vein doctor you see.
Only an experienced vein doctor can determine which kind of sclerotherapy you need. If you are considering getting treatment for varicose veins or spider veins, it is always best to go to an experienced medical professional for a thorough evaluation.
Effectiveness of Sclerotherapy
After your first session of sclerotherapy, you might need to come back for another session to completely eliminate your spider veins or varicose veins. Sclerotherapy usually eliminates between 50 and 80 percent of problem veins during each treatment. You can expect your spider veins to fade within three to six weeks of the procedure, while larger varicose veins might take a little longer.
Is Sclerotherapy Right For You?
Most people with varicose veins or spider veins can use sclerotherapy to treat their vein disease with very few side effects. The procedure involves at most a very minimal amount of pain, so there is no reason to let fear put you off. To find out more about sclerotherapy and schedule an evaluation to find out whether it is right for you, get in touch with the Vein Treatment Center today. The helpful staff can answer your questions about venous insufficiency and vein disease, including helping you find out if insurance covers spider vein treatment and varicose vein treatment.
Dr. Michael Nguyen
VENOUS SPECIALIST | Harvard Medical School
Dr. Michael Nguyen is a world renowned and Harvard trained vein specialist in Manhattan. He leads the team of vein doctors offering the highest level of care at the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New York & New Jersey.
As a pioneer in the treatment of varicose veins problems, Dr. Nguyen is considered a top vein expert for developing minimally invasive and customized treatment plans for the many symptoms of venous insufficiency, including leg cramps, skin discoloration on legs, spider vein removal, and restless leg syndrome.
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