If you avoid wearing short pants or dresses or feel self-conscious about swimming attire due to spider veins, you might want to consider sclerotherapy. Performed in a vein clinic like Vascular and Interventional Associates, sclerotherapy can improve the appearance of your legs. In addition to sclerotherapy, we offer other treatments for varicose veins. What Are Varicose Veins? Varicose veins occur when the valves inside the vein stop working. These tiny flaps of tissue prevent blood from flowing backward between heartbeats. Long periods of standing or sitting with the legs down, lack of exercise and being overweight or obese can contribute to varicose veins. Spider veins are very small varicose veins — easily visible because they are just under the skin – that are red, purple or blue in color. What is Sclerotherapy? Sclerotherapy is the usual method chosen to eliminate spider veins. This office-based procedure is typically performed in a doctor’s office or vein clinic by an interventional radiologist. It’s an outpatient procedure that usually takes less than an hour. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities in a day or less. Depending on the number of veins that need treatment, you may need more than one sclerotherapy session. Preparing for Sclerotherapy Your doctor will give you specific pre-treatment instructions. Generally, however, you should plan on wearing loose, comfortable clothing to your appointment. Tell your doctor about any allergies you have or medications or herbal supplements you are taking. If you take blood thinners, or medicines like aspirin, ibuprofen or iron, you may need to stop taking them for a few days before the procedure. Don’t apply lotion to your legs the day of the procedure. About the Procedure Your doctor will use a very fine, thin needle to inject each vein with a special liquid that irritates the wall of the vein. In response, the spider veins swell, stick together and scar. Eventually, they disappear. You may feel a mild burning or stinging sensation when the liquid is injected, which should disappear quickly. Injecting slightly larger veins may cause a temporary cramping sensation. Post-Procedure Care After the procedure is completed, your doctor will instruct you to wear special support hose or compression wraps. This helps promote the collapse and scarring in the treated veins. You may have some hard red lumps or bruising after the treatment, and occasionally brown spots or lines may appear. These symptoms typically disappear within a few weeks or months. The veins will usually respond to the treatment within three to six months. If necessary, the procedure can be repeated. Since sclerotherapy is usually considered a cosmetic procedure, your insurance might not cover it. Each situation is different, however, so discuss your case with our billing experts. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have about varicose vein treatments in general or sclerotherapy in particular. Contact us at Vascular and Interventional Associates for answers to your questions or to schedule an appointment.