Dermatology Photo
Conditions And Treatments


What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is injection therapy for spider veins (small red and purple veins) and larger surface reticular veins of the leg. It works by chemically inducing an irritation through injection of a sclerosing solution. This solution causes the veins to lessen after they pass through a healing process in which the treated veins thicken and close.

How painful is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is minimally painful for most patients. The sensation experienced during the treatment could be compared to a pin prick at each injection site.

What adverse effects are possible?

Bruising after sclerotherapy is the most common unwanted effect of sclerotherapy. A bruise will resolve usually in 1 to 2 weeks. Some patients will also experience transient itchness on the legs after sclerotherapy that lasts for a few hours.

Other side effects which are more uncommon include a brown discoloration over the treated vein. This is a combination of pigment as well as iron from the blood and it usually resolves in a matter of weeks.

Serious complications resulting from injection therapy are rare. Infrequently, sclerotherapy could cause ulceration, superficial inflammation of the vein (phlebitis), a small blood clot at the injection site or a scar.

How many treatments will I need?

Most patients will need 3 – 4 treatments but the number of treatments that you will need depends on the amount and severity of your veins and the results that you hope to achieve. This will need to be discussed with the doctor at your consultation.

The veins successfully treated rarely return, although new ones may appear, so follow up sessions may be required.

How long does the treatment take?

The treatment takes from 20 to 30 minutes depending on the type and amount veins to be treated.

Do I have to wear bandages after treatment?

No bandages are needed after treatment of most veins.

Will my insurance cover sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is considered a cosmetic procedure, therefore it is not covered by medical insurance.

Do I need a consult with the doctor before scheduling a treatment?

Yes. The doctor will need to evaluate your veins to make sure that sclerotherapy is the right treatment choice for you. She will discuss your veins, treatment options and the risks and benefits of proposed treatments.

  • Website design by the: Web Design Studio
  • ©2009. Columbia University Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, New York, NY.