Sclerotherapy is the treatment of choice for small spider and varicose veins. The treatment involves injecting the unwanted veins with salt water or another specialized solution (polidoconal or soltradecol), which causes the veins to collapse. (Spider and varicose veins are not needed for proper blood flow.) The collapsed veins are reabsorbed into the body, leaving only minor scarring behind.
What It's Good For
Sclerotherapy primarily treats small spider and varicose veins found on hands, thighs, calves and ankles.
Who it works for: Sclerotherapy best treats spider veins and small varicose veins that are one to four millimeters in diameter. They may look like flat red vessels or like blue vessels that bulge above the skin's surface.
Recommended age range: There is no recommended age range for sclerotherapy, but the condition is most common in women above the age of 30.
When will I see results?: Larger veins that have been injected can become lumpy and hard, requiring several months to dissolve and fade. Brown lines or spots may appear at the vein site, though these too usually disappear within three to six months.
After the procedure, new, tiny blood vessels may develop at the site of treatment; they should fade within three to 12 months without further treatment. If they don't, they can be eliminated with IPL treatment or a vascular laser.
How long it lasts: Spider veins disappear in about six weeks and larger varicose veins in eight weeks after successful sclerotherapy.
Key benefits of sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy has a high success rate. Approximately 50 to 80 percent of all veins are eliminated by the procedure. Multiple sessions are typically necessary.
Did you know?: Sclerotherapy may be covered by your insurance company if the distended veins are causing discomfort. Can't hurt to ask!
Who's Done It?
Madonna is purportedly a devotee to sclerotherapy.