What is Cosmetic Sclerotherapy and Is It Right For Me?

Unsightly and sometimes even uncomfortable, spider and varicose veins are a problem both genders have to deal with. They affect 25% of men and 40% of women, and they’re more common in women due to increased progesterone production.

Sometimes, problematic veins will cause pain, swelling and discomfort. Other times, they’ll simply be a cosmetic issue. Regardless of the reason for treating them, visible veins can be eliminated effectively with cosmetic sclerotherapy. A quick, painless, and non-surgical procedure, cosmetic sclerotherapy represents one of the best and most common ways to address problematic veins. In this article, we’ll try to answer some common questions such as what cosmetic sclerotherapy is, the results, recovery time, and the procedure itself, as well as the ways you can determine whether it is right for you.

What is cosmetic sclerotherapy?

Cosmetic sclerotherapy is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive medical procedure that aims to treat and remove varicose veins and spider veins (Telangiectasias). It’s a treatment method that’s been used for almost a century, and it’s rather quick and painless.

The cosmetic sclerotherapy procedure is performed by a trained physician assistant, nurse sclerotherapist or an interventional radiologist in an office. Since it’s a cosmetic procedure, sclerotherapy is not covered by most insurance companies, so you will need to pay out-of-pocket.

What is the sclerotherapy treatment procedure?

When it comes to the procedure itself, the process lasts for about 30 minutes. During the procedure, a trained professional injects a solution (usually a salt solution) called sclerosant directly into your veins. You will be working with professionals who have completed sclerotherapy training and have the necessary qualifications to perform such procedures.

After being injected using a very fine needle, this sclerosing agent seals the veins closed. This impedes blood flow to the veins in question, causing them to become less visible until they eventually disappear.

What are the results like?

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

After injecting the solution, the treated vessels will collapse, which may result in treated veins looking worse. However, the appearance of the veins will improve within the next couple of weeks. During this time, the body will completely reabsorb the treated vessel. The response to the treatment will depend on the type of veins that were treated. Larger veins usually take three to four months to respond. On the other hand, spider veins will respond to the treatment in just three to six weeks.

The majority of treated veins disappear after just one injection. However, most patients need more than one treatment to safely address all the problematic veins and achieve the best results. In that case, you can expect treatments every six to twelve weeks.

What is the recovery time?

Since cosmetic sclerotherapy is a method that’s minimally invasive, there’s little to no downtime involved. The procedure doesn’t include anesthesia and there are minimal side effects. These include bruising of the area where the solution was injected, swelling, itching, and skin discoloration. You may feel slight burning and discomfort during the procedure, but it’s only a brief sensation.

After completing the treatment, you can return to your regular daily activities right away. That said, you will need to wear compression stockings for a couple of days to support the treated vessels. You’ll also need to avoid hot baths and showers, saunas, and direct sunlight exposure, and daily walks will be encouraged.

Who are candidates for sclerotherapy?

After reading up on cosmetic sclerotherapy, many individuals start asking themselves: Is it right for me? Now, this is a question that can easily be answered by consulting with a vascular medicine specialist or a dermatologist.

Generally speaking, cosmetic sclerotherapy treatment is quite effective, but it’s not for everyone. It’s not suitable for pregnant women, individuals with certain conditions, as well as those allergic to sclerosing solutions. All in all, any patient with good overall health who’s looking to remove spider veins for aesthetic reasons is considered a good candidate for cosmetic sclerotherapy.

Wrapping up

With no incisions, downtime, or anesthesia, it’s easy to see why cosmetic sclerotherapy is gaining in popularity. Whether your reasons for considering sclerotherapy are medical or purely aesthetic, knowing what to expect during the procedure definitely helps.

For those who do feel like the right candidates for sclerotherapy, deciding to treat and remove those unsightly and uncomfortable veins will definitely be the step in the right direction that will ensure healthy, beautiful legs you won’t mind showing off when summer rolls around.

Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels

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