Lake Washington Vascular

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Sclerotherapy is a method of treating varicose veins and spider veins (telangectasias) under the skin. A substance called a sclerosing agent is injected with a tiny needle into the veins to cause inflammation and eventual obliteration of the blood vessel.


Echosclerotherapy is a relatively new technique that utilizes ultrasound to guide sclerotherapy injections into larger varicose veins or veins too deep to see. These veins may be the cause of unsightly surface veins. Using ultrasound visualization technology allows your doctor to target the veins that need treatment, minimizing the amount of injections you need and maximizing their effectiveness.

How many treatments will I need?

Varicose and spider veins come in all sizes, shapes, and numbers. The number of treatments needed can be estimated at the time of your visit with your physician. Over time spider veins and varicose veins can recur or new ones may develop, and future treatments may be needed.

Will my insurance cover Sclerotherapy?

With very few exceptions (such as active bleeding from a spider vein), sclerotherapy is a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance companies.

What are the common side effects?

  • Itching. Mild itching experienced at the vein site and along its course may occur for up to a day after injection.
  • Skin Hyperpigmentation. Approximately 50% of patients who undergo therapy notice a brownish skin pigment after the vessel is treated. In most patients, the veins become darker right after the procedure. The veins gradually and steadily fade over the next 12 to 15 months. Rarely, permanent brown staining may occur.
  • Allergic Reaction. Rarely a patient may have an allergic reaction to sclerosing agent solutions. Let your physician know if you have any allergies prior to treatment. Allergic reaction may include hives, shortness of breath, or nausea.
  • Pain. Occasionally patients may experience pain at the site of injection. After treatment, the injected vein may be tender to the touch along its course. This is temporary and usually resolved in three to six weeks. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen is usually all that is needed for pain after sclerotherapy.

What are other possible side effects?

  • Tiny new blood vessels may develop at the site of previously injected veins. Transient swelling or hives may occur. Wound infections and breakdown of the skin are rare complications that may require treatment. 
  • Scarring is unusual, but may occur. 
  • Deep vein clots, which are very rare, can cause complications such as long-term swelling or clots traveling to the lungs.

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