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What is Sclerotherapy?

Dr. Karlsberg recommends Sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider veins and small, asymptomatic varicose veins. This is a very common procedure that can have excellent results for leg veins.

Sclerotherapy is a popular method for eliminating varicose veins and superficial telangiectasias (“spider veins”) in which a solution, called a “sclerosing agent,” is injected into the veins.

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Does Sclerotherapy work for everyone?

The majority of persons who have sclerotherapy performed will be cleared or at least see good improvement. Unfortunately, however, there is no guarantee that sclerotherapy will be effective in every case. Approximately 10% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy have poor to fair results (“poor” results are when the veins have not totally disappeared after six treatments). In very rare instances, the patient’s condition may become worse after sclerotherapy treatment.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments needed to clear or improve the condition differs from patient to patient, depending on the extent of varicose and spider veins present. One to six or more treatments may be needed; the average is three to four. Individual veins usually require one the three treatments.

What are the possible complications if I don’t have Sclerotherapy performed?

In cases of large varicose veins (greater than 3 – 4 mm in diameter), spontaneous phlebitis and/or thrombosis may occur with the associated risk of possible pulmonary emboli. Additionally, large skin ulcerations may develop in the ankle region of patients with long-standing varicose veins with underlying venous insufficiency. Rarely these ulcers may hemorrhage or become cancerous.

Are there other types of procedures to treat varicose veins and telangiectasias?

What are their side effects?

Because varicose and telangiectatic leg veins are not life-threatening conditions, treatment is not mandatory in every patient. Some patients may get adequate relief of symptoms from wearing graduated support stockings. Ambulatory phlebectomy is a procedure in which certain types of veins can be removed through small surgical incisions. The complications of this procedure are similar to those of sclerotherapy with the addition of small surgical scars that naturally occur with this procedure. Vein stripping and/or ligation may also be used to treat large varicose veins. This procedure may require a hospital stay and usually is performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. Risks of vein stripping and/or ligation include permanent nerve paralysis in a small percentage of patients, possible pulmonary emboli, infection, and permanent scarring. General anesthesia has some associated serious risks, including the possibility of paralysis, brain damage, and death.

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