Sclerotherapy is the injection of a medication directly into a vein to cause the destruction of the vein and rerouting of blood into normal veins. Visual sclerotherapy is the terminology used to indicate that the treatment is under direct visualization as opposed to ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy that depends on ultrasound to see the target vein.
Visual sclerotherapy is used to treat “spider veins” on the legs. “Spider veins” is a common term used to include all small veins on the surface of the skin. The medical terminology for these veins is telangiectasia for veins less than 1 mm in diameter and reticular veins for veins 1-3 mm in diameter.
The procedure involves the injection of a medication using a very tiny needle followed by the application of compression. The veins are destroyed over the course of a few weeks. We have millions of veins in our legs and the elimination of the bad ones can only improve the circulation.
The preferred medication at ERVC for visual sclerotherapy is Asclera® (generic name: polidocanol). We never use hypertonic saline because it is painful and has too many side effects.
Visual sclerotherapy is quick and there is no downtime.
Clovis E. Manley, MD
Evansville Regional Vein Center