Varicose Vein Treatment FAQs

Will Treated Veins Recur?
Larger varicose veins are either destroyed or removed, so they cannot “recur”, although you can develop new varicosities in other veins, in other areas of the leg. Spider veins may recur, or it may seem that a previously injected vessel has recurred, when in fact, a new spider vein has appeared in the same area.

Since spider veins and varicose veins have a genetic component, some people are more likely to develop new problems. True “recurrence” of the same vein can occur if the vein is incompletely treated or there is an underlying cause for the varicose vein which has not been diagnosed.

How Successful is Sclerotherapy?
Many patients have high expectations when it comes to treating spider veins, and may expect their legs to be “spotless” overnight. Unfortunately, that is not possible with any methods we currently have available. Of course, there is also wide variation in the severity of the vein condition; whereas one patient may present with a few small spiders on each leg, another patient can present with legs that are completely covered from ankle to thigh with dark, mottled networks of proliferative veins.

With appropriate treatments, correct sclerosing agents and correction of any underlying venous problems, most patients can expect 80-90% clearance of their spider veins in 3-5 sessions. Fading can be gradual and proceed with time. Complete resolution of spider veins is usually achieved with attentive detail and sufficient treatment sessions.

Are There Treatment Methods Other Than Sclerotherapy?
We offer both injection sclerotherapy and laser therapy. After a consultation, we can determine what type of treatment is best for your particular situation. Laser therapy alone is an effective treatment for small veins on the face.

How Do I Prepare For Sclerotherapy Treatment?
No particular preparations are required for spider vein sclerotherapy. Do not use lotion prior to treatment. Wear loose fitting clothes the day of the procedure.

Can Sclerotherapy Be Used on All Skin Types?
Yes, although very light and dark skin can have a higher incidence of staining or matting. Medium skin tones seem to respond the best, but it is very individual – occasionally we will do a small test spot prior to a full treatment, then evaluate that spot 1-2 weeks later for any adverse effects.

What Does The Sclerotherapy Procedure Feel Like?
The injections feel like small stings, and are not especially painful. We also use the SynerCool to apply cool air to the skin as we inject, which minimizes this discomfort.

Can Spider Veins On Other Parts of The Body Be Treated?
Spider veins occurring on the face are best treated with the Dornier 940 Laser, and spiders elsewhere are treated with sclerotherapy, or a combination of both. Spiders and reticular veins can also be treated on the chest and back of the hands.

What Happens At An Initial Appointment?
A consultation consists of a discussion with Dr. McMullen followed by a physical examination. If indicated, ultrasound may be performed to help diagnose any underlying source of venous disease, and a complete treatment plan is then formulated and reviewed with you by our staff.

Is Financing Available?
We have financing available through CareCredit. We also accept personal checks, cash, Master Card, Visa, and American Express.

What Does The Sclerotherapy Procedure Cost?
Because every patient is different, the price and the estimate of the extent of your treatments will be discussed at your initial evaluation. Insurance generally considers spider vein treatments as “cosmetic”.

Is The Treatment Of Unwanted Veins Covered By Insurance?
Sclerotherapy is usually considered “cosmetic” and not medically necessary by commercial insurance except in the case of a bleeding varix. Large vessel disease is usually considered “medically necessary” and may be covered, depending on the insurance carrier’s medical review process. We will do a predetermination on your behalf with your insurance company after your initial visit to get you the maximum benefit from your carrier. This step can take up to a few weeks for your insurance company to review documentation of your case and make a determination.

Does Sclerotherapy Have Side Effects?
Sclerotherapy has an extremely low incidence of complications. Any patient can get some staining or matting, which fades with time, and severe cases can be treated with bleaching creams and laser treatments if necessary. Life-threatening complications are virtually unheard of.

What Can I Do After Ligation Treatment?
No limitations are placed on normal activities. You will have a wrap dressing on the site for two days after which it can be removed and normal bathing can resume. We use dissolvable sutures placed under the skin which do not require removal.

How Do I Prepare For The Ligation Procedure?
Ligation is a surgical procedure usually done under local anesthesia in the office at the time of sclerotherapy. You can therefore eat normally, but discontinue taking any Aspirin or blood thinners 3-5 days before surgery.

What Can I Do After Sclerotherapy?
After the procedure, we will review your instructions and provide a written summary for you. Compression stockings are typically worn continuously (24/7) for 5 days after reticular vein injections, and 24 hours after spider vein sessions. Cast protectors can be purchased to cover the stockings and allow you to shower. No limitations are placed on normal activities.

Are these veins necessary to circulation?
Although these veins carry blood, the great majority of them, especially spider veins, are not needed and perform no useful function. They are typically secondary veins, and there are hundreds of tributary veins that will handle the blood return from the legs after offending varicose veins are treated. The deep venous system, however, is required for appropriate circulation, and must be open so that the superficial veins can be treated without swelling or other problems later on.