Alegent Health Northwest Imaging

Northwest Imaging is a joint venture between Radiology Consultants and Alegent Health.


Spider Vein Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.

Sclerotherapy is a well-proven procedure and has been in use since the 1930s.

Candidates for Sclerotherapy

Prior to the procedure, you will have an initial consultation with a specialist who will decide if you're a good candidate for sclerotherapy.

You are not eligible if you are pregnant or bedridden. You can have sclerotherapy if you take birth control pills. If you have had a blood clot in the past, your eligibility will be decided on an individual basis, and will depend on the overall health of the area needing treatment as well as the reason for the clot.

Veins that are potentially usable for future surgical bypass procedures (i.e. use of the saphenous vein, a large vein in the leg used for coronary artery bypass graft surgery) will generally not be considered for sclerotherapy, unless they are already deemed unusable.

How Sclerotherapy Is Done

In most cases, a solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. At this point, you may experience mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes, especially when larger veins are injected. The procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

The number of veins injected in one session varies, and depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as the general medical condition of the patient.

Sclerotherapy is performed in the doctor's office by a interventional radiologist and requires that you do not partake in any aerobic activity for a few days after the procedure.

Sclerotherapy Effectiveness

Studies have shown that as many as 50%-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy. Less than 10% of the people who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all. In these instances, different solutions can be tried. Although this procedure works for most patients, there are no guarantees for success.

In general, spider veins respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins respond in three to four months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before. If needed, you may return for injections.

 Insurance Coverage for Sclerotherapy

Insurance coverage varies. If your varicose veins are causing medical problems such as pain or chronic swelling, your insurance may offer reimbursement. If you are pursuing sclerotherapy for cosmetic purposes only, your insurance carrier most likely will not provide coverage. You should discuss your concerns with your doctor. If you have questions, please call your insurance company. Your insurance company may request a letter from your physician concerning the nature of your treatment and medical necessity.

 For an initial consultation call:

Lakeside Hospital at (402)717-8146 or Immanuel Hospital at (402) 572-2324