Sclerotherapy is an injectable treatment that eliminates the appearance of unsightly varicose veins and spider veins in the lower limbs. These twisted blue, red, and purple-ish veins are common, even among healthy people. However, the mere sight of them can be embarrassing. What’s more, these problem veins sometimes cause discomfort and further complications because of inadequate blood flow.
Thankfully, patients can quickly rectify this problem without undergoing extensive surgery. Sclerotherapy, a minimally-invasive treatment, fades these veins from view through the injection of a sclerosant, or foam irritant, directly into the affected area. When injected, the chemical causes the veins to collapse and eventually fade away from view, allowing the body to redirect blood from damaged veins to healthier ones. In time, this can result in improved blood flow, fewer troublesome veins, and relief from discomfort.
Dr. Lee Au of Pacific Health Medical Group is a leading vein expert in Southern California. For over three decades, he has helped patients regain self-assurance and achieve better quality of life. To learn more about sclerotherapy, call (800) 555-5551 to reach our Apple Valley, Beverly Hills, or Pomona offices for an initial consultation.
- 1 About the Vascular System
- 2 About Sclerotherapy
- 3 What Are the Risk Factors for Problem Veins?
- 4 Benefits of Sclerotherapy
- 5 Candidates
- 6 Personal Consultation with Dr. Au
- 7 Preparation
- 8 Procedure
- 9 Recovery
- 10 Results
- 11 Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
- 12 Cost of Sclerotherapy in Southern California
- 13 FAQ
- 14 References
About the Vascular System
The vascular system is a vital and intricate network of blood vessels. Arteries and veins regulate the flow of oxygenated and deoxygenated blood to and from the heart, lungs, and the rest of the body, providing nutrients and keeping every part of the body healthy. A harmonious blood flow is dependent on the proper functioning of vein valves. These are the crescent-shaped flaps that prevent blood from flowing backward. When these one-way valves stop working, they cause venous insufficiency. Consequently, bothersome veins known as varicose veins (large, twisting vessels) or spider veins (smaller red, bluish veins) start to show on the legs, ankles, or thighs.
What Are The Signs of Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins occur when blood pools in the legs due to faulty vein valves. They can be painless, however man patients experience some or all of the following symptoms:
- Gnarled, twisted veins close to the skin’s surface
- Swelling and puffiness in the ankles
- Itchy, uncomfortable legs
- Burning, heat-like sensations
- Aching or “heavy” legs
- Dry, irritated skin in the area
Although for many people, varicose veins are a cosmetic issue, for others they may indicate a more serious problem in the vascular system. Therefore, early treatment is important.
Sclerotherapy is a time-tested method of dealing with problem veins that dates back to 1944, when Egmont James Orbach first proposed the treatment.  Unfortunately, interest soon waned because the treatment could only treat small veins. Since then, newer methods have been developed to offer more effective results than past treatments.  As a result, sclerotherapy has experienced immense popularity in recent years. The treatment now involves injecting sclerosant solution into the concerning vein with a syringe.  Patients with more prominent veins may choose to have foam sclerotherapy performed, a process that mixes a fluid such as polidocanol or sodium tetradecyl  with gas to produce foam. With either treatment, the solution will irritate the vessel’s inner wall, causing damage to the vessel. This causes the vein to harden and shrink. The body will then absorb them and, in time, will disappear from view over time.
What Are the Risk Factors for Problem Veins?
Multiple lifestyle factors may increase the presence of varicose veins and spider veins. They include:
- Hormone changes 
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Long periods of standing
- Long periods of sitting
- Physical trauma
Benefits of Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is considered to be the “gold standard” in varicose and spider vein treatment. (3) Patients will notice a positive difference in the appearance of their legs and relief from uncomfortable symptoms. It vastly reduces or eliminates the unsightly appearance of multicolored veins. Sclerotherapy is also:
- A short treatment that can be performed within an hour
- An effective treatment that doesn’t use invasive methods
- So effective there are noticeable results in as little as one session
- A way for patients to feel more confident with their appearance
- A way for patients to have greater wardrobe options
Men and women who are unhappy with visible veins on their lower limbs are good candidates for treatment. However, a pre-procedure consultation at one of our Southern California offices is necessary for determining your unique benefits. Certain conditions may affect your eligibility, including:
- Blood disorders such as anemia
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Allergies to sclerosants
- Arterial disease
- Current pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Other infections that could affect the final outcome
Personal Consultation with Dr. Au
For over 33 years, patients in the Los Angeles area, Inland Empire, and High Desert have relied on the surgical talents of Dr. Lee Au. His surgical expertise in bariatric, cosmetic, and general surgeries enables him to make a profound impact on thousands of patients each year.
Patients have the chance to meet with us in Apple Valley, Beverly Hills, or Pomona to describe their concerns. After Dr. Au asks you some important health questions, he’ll assess your veins based on their appearance, size, and location. After the examination, he will determine which type of sclerotherapy treatment will benefit you most.
Before your treatment, our team will ask you to follow a few instructions.
- Do not smoke or drink to ensure sufficient blood flow
- Stop taking blood thinning medications and supplements (e.g. aspirin, NSAIDs)
- Refrain from shaving, waxing, or applying creams to the treatment area
- Have a small snack and stay hydrated before treatment
- Pause regular skin care the day before treatment
- Come to the office in comfortable clothing
After Dr. Au thoroughly cleanses the area, he will anesthetize it and inject a sclerosant solution directly into the vein with an ultra-thin needle. Once placed in the affected area, the solution will irritate the vein’s inner lining, causing it to collapse and curb blood flow.  Gradually, these veins are absorbed by the body and recede from view. He may gently massage the area to ensure the solutions are evenly distributed. Once completed, Dr. Au will protect the treated area with a compression stocking. The size and number of veins will determine the duration of your session. However, most patients are allowed to go home within an hour.
After sclerotherapy, patients may experience:
- Mild Soreness
- Skin Discoloration
Patients can resume most of their daily activities as soon as they leave the office. We advise patients to hold off on high-impact activities once these effects have subsided within two weeks. Patients can encourage healing by combining regular light movement with wearing compression stockings.
Sclerotherapy renders unsightly veins invisible over time. Once the sclerosant scars the vein, the structure will no longer be able to carry blood, and the body will gradually metabolize it. Most patients will experience benefits almost immediately. However, some patients may need successive treatments to achieve the most effective results.
Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
Sclerotherapy is a primary method of reducing these troublesome veins. However, Dr. Au offers other vein treatments that provide excellent results. Dr. Au’s evaluation of your case may determine whether these treatments can benefit you. They include:
ClariVein eliminates problem veins by combining mechanochemical ablation and sclerosant. A special catheter with a thin rotating tip stimulates the vein’s inner lining during the session. Then, simultaneously, the sclerosant solution is infused at the end catheter to cause the vein to close.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
This non-surgical alternative applies thermal heat energy to the affected vein network. The heat from the treatment causes a heat bubble inside the vein, which will cause the structure to collapse and disappear.
Patients with large, bulging vein networks that cannot be treated with sclerotherapy will see better outcomes with microphlebectomy. It involves only minute incisions to remove the vein entirely for the affected area.
Cost of Sclerotherapy in Southern California
Your individualized treatment cost is dependent on the size of the vein network and the number of sessions needed to treat it. Your health insurance provider may cover sclerotherapy treatment if it serves a medical purpose. Patients can determine if their treatment is covered by completing our insurance verification form. Contact Pacific Health Medical Group at (800) 555-5551 to book your personal appointment with Dr. Au to discuss your individual vein treatment plan.
Will sclerotherapy hurt?
During the injection treatment, patients may feel slight pinch-like pressure in the treatment area. However, sclerotherapy patients may request local numbing to reduce discomfort.
When is a good time to seek medical attention for visible veins?
If problem veins are affecting your health, self-confidence, or quality of life, sclerotherapy may suit you. Patients are encouraged to seek medical recommendations from a vein specialist for accurate diagnosis and treatment.
Can spider veins and varicose veins develop elsewhere on the body?
Varicose veins and spider veins are most commonly found in the lower body, particularly the thighs, calves, and ankles. However, in rare cases, varicose veins can be found in other places, including the pelvic area. Certain demographics, such as patients with sun-damaged skin may see some evidence of spider veins on their faces.
- http://fyra.io. Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy. Endovascular Today. Published March 2010. Accessed June 23, 2022. https://evtoday.com/articles/2010-mar/ultrasound-guided-foam-sclerotherapy
- Weiss MA, Hsu JTS, Neuhaus I, Sadick NS, Duffy DM. Consensus for Sclerotherapy. Dermatologic Surgery. 2014;40(12):1309-1318. doi:10.1097/dss.0000000000000225
- Dietzek CL. Sclerotherapy: Introduction to Solutions and Techniques. Perspectives in Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 2007;19(3):317-324. doi:10.1177/1531003507305884
- 4.Watson JJ, Mansour MA. Cosmetic sclerotherapy. Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders. 2017;5(3):437-445. doi:10.1016/j.jvsv.2017.02.002