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Sclerotherapy: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Apr 25, 2024

What is the treatment?

There are no other synonyms for Sclerotherapy.

How is the treatment done?

Sclerotherapy is considered to be the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins, by injecting the chemical ‘sclerosant’ into a vein, which obliterates the affected vein completely. This sclerosant further damages the inner lining of the vessels and blocks further blood circulation by forming a blood clot. This clot gradually turns into a scar tissue which fades over time.

The varicose veins can become large and bulging upon becoming incompetent to carry the blood flow towards the heart. When that happens, even the smaller veins tend to feed on the varicose veins and can appear as red or blue spider veins. This swelling can lead to a condition called venous insufficiency, which is more prone to forming blood clots and skin ulcers. These veins are henced required to be damaged both medically and cosmetically. This procedure has been medically tested and proven since the 1930s.

Individuals opting for sclerotherapy undergo it for medical as well as cosmetic reason. The choice of the sclerosant agent depends upon the size of the vessel which is affected. Once the correct vessels are treated through sclerotherapy, it can further help improve the symptoms of venous insufficiency as well.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Sclerotherapy is a relieving procedure for varicose and spider veins. Most cases of this therapy include injecting a salt solution through a fine needle into the vein. In the case of larger veins, discomfort or cramping can be experienced by the patient for a few minutes, as veins are delicate in nature and extreme care needs to be taken while treating them.

In one session, the number of veins that are injected at a time would depend upon the size and location of the veins. The patient’s medical condition would also play a large role in making this decision by the doctor. Sclerotherapy takes about 4 or 5 sessions to complete, as it is not advisable to inject the sclerosant into every affected vein at one time. The procedure for one session of sclerotherapy takes about 15-20 minutes to complete.

Sclerotherapy also demands the patient to not perform any yoga or aerobic activities for a few days before the procedure. The treatment is effectively carried out by a dermatologist at the clinic or by a surgeon. The treatment is quite useful as the doctor can use an ultrasound to map your veins and effectively inject the solution into your vein. For smaller veins, ultrasound is discarded and visual inspection is done to carry out the treatment.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The ideal candidate for sclerotherapy is any one who is affected by venous deficiency and has a poor composure maintained by compression stockings. The patient needs to have a desirable weight to be eligible for the same. People who are healthy having an issue of unsightly superficial veins of a small calibre are also eligible to undergo this therapy.


Are there any side effects?

Patients who are overweight or obese cannot undergo sclerotherapy until they can try and shed some kilos. It is also not advisable for pregnant women and children to go ahead with this treatment, out of fear of complications and severe side effects.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Sclerotherapy, in contrast to being an effective mode of treatment has various side effects to it that have to be taken care of after the treatment is done with. The risks or side effects include hyperpigmentation, temporary swelling, pain cause due to the injection, capillary dilation, localised hives, vasovagal reflex, tape compression blisters and folliculitis, localised hair growth, skin death or decaying, allergic reactions, arterial injections, superficial thrombophlebitis, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, nerve damages and migraines or headaches to an extent. These are a lot in number but heal in no time too and should be tended to immediately upon occurrence.

How long does it take to recover?

The good thing about sclerotherapy is that it is an outpatient procedure allowing the patient to leave the same day as the treatment. However, the procedure takes about a couple of sessions after which full recovery can be ensured. The patient needs to make sure to attend every session for a speedy recovery. Compression dressing should be worn by the patient for a few weeks to ensure complete healing of the veins. Within 2 weeks of the treatment, a follow up visit should also be followed by the doctor to eradicate the blood clots in the larger veins. The doctor can then tend to the healed area and try to make the appearance of the area better as well.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Sclerotherapy is carried out for a few sessions before complete treatment can take place. In most cases, the recovery happens within 6-8 weeks of the procedure.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

In India, the cost of sclerotherapy depends upon the number of sessions required for the complete treatment. Each session costs around Rs. 5000.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

Sclerotherapy helps in improving the appearance of unsightly veins but it cannot prevent new veins from being formed. It cannot be considered as a permanent fix to removing spider or varicose veins, as they might reappear. Patients remain delighted with the eradication of these unwanted veins, by gaining a better appearance of the affected area.

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Written ByDr. Shaurya Rohatgi MD - Dermatology , Venereology & Leprosy,MBBSDermatology
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician
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