What is vein treatment (sclerotherapy)?

If you have leg swelling and discomfort from vein disease, varicose veins or spider veins, you’re not alone. An estimated 30% to 60%of adults suffer from these sometimes embarrassing and often painful conditions that can make walking or standing difficult. Thankfully, Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center offers the latest innovations in vein treatment.

Am I a candidate for vein treatment (sclerotherapy)?

Good candidates for vein treatment are people with spider or varicose veins who have a positive outlook and specific, realistic goals in mind for the improvement of their appearance. If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding or are confined to bed, you’re not eligible for the vein treatment procedure called sclerotherapy. Pregnant women are advised to wait at least three months after delivery before being considered a candidate for this procedure.

If you’ve had a blood clot in the past, your eligibility for vein treatment will be determined on an individual basis and will depend on the limb and the cause of the clot. The best way to determine if you’re a candidate for vein treatment is through a consultation with a specialist at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.

How do I prepare for vein treatment (sclerotherapy)?

Preparation for vein treatment at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center includes:

  • A medical evaluation.
  • Taking certain medications or adjusting your current medications.
  • Stopping smoking.
  • Avoiding aspirin and certain anti-inflammatory drugs and herbal supplements (as they can increase bleeding).
  • Taking photographs of treated areas before and after your procedure to evaluate improvement.

Why choose us?

When considering a vein treatment procedure, choose a surgeon with significant experience performing the procedure. Friends, family members or an internist or primary care provider are often helpful in suggesting the best surgeon. 

For the best results, choose a cosmetic surgeon who’s affiliated with a major medical center, such as Cleveland Clinic. Make sure to ask your cosmetic surgeon about their credentials, training and how many procedures they’ve performed.

Learn more about Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center.

How to Prepare

How to Prepare

How is vein treatment (sclerotherapy) performed?

The goal of any vein treatment procedure is to reduce the symptoms that varicose and spider veins can cause and improve overall appearance. Vein treatment at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center is generally performed in an outpatient setting, so you’ll typically go home the same day.

There are a wide range of treatments for varicose and spider veins, including noninvasive laser therapy, superficial injections, ultrasound-guided deep injections and surgical removal of larger varicosities. Your physician will be able to advise which of these procedures is best for you.

What to Expect

What to Expect

What are the different types of vein treatments?

The types of vein treatment options offered by specialists at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center include:

Compression stockings

This procedure is the most conservative treatment for vein disease, varicose veins and spider veins. Medical-grade support hose that fit properly are especially helpful when veins cause painful or uncomfortable symptoms. You can purchase these stockings at any medical supply store and at some pharmacies. Your provider may prescribe them for you (depending on the degree of compression required). 


This medical procedure has been in use since the 1930’s and uses an injection of solution directly into your vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell and clot. Over time, your body works to clear the vessel away and it fades from view. The procedure is simple, relatively inexpensive and can be performed in the office.

Laser & light therapy

Laser and light-based devices can treat small spider veins or broken blood vessels. Your provider might recommend this treatment when the vessels are too small for sclerotherapy injections. 

This treatment works by heating up the blood in the vessel, causing it to coagulate. Your body then clears away the vessel over the following days to weeks. One to six treatments might be required to properly treat the area.

Surgical ligation/stripping

Severe varicose veins might require a surgical procedure in which the dilated vein is either removed or tied off through a small incision in the skin. A vascular surgeon performs this surgery in the hospital.

Is vein treatment (sclerotherapy) safe?

All procedures carry some risks. Possible side effects from vein treatment procedures include:

  • Unfavorable scarring.
  • Bleeding (hematoma).
  • Infection.
  • Poor healing of injection sites.
  • Change in skin sensation.
  • Skin sensitivity.
  • Ulceration.
  • Allergies to tape, suture materials and glues, blood products, topical preparations or injected agents.
  • Skin contour irregularities.
  • Skin discoloration and swelling.
  • Pain, which may persist.
  • Possibility of revisional surgery.
  • Need for further injection therapy.
  • Damage to deeper structures (such as nerves, blood vessels and muscles) that may be temporary or permanent.


What results can I expect?

The results of vein treatment vary depending on the technology or treatment prescribed for you at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center. Vein treatment technologies and treatments available are advancing rapidly and you may be surprised at the improvement that can be achieved by relatively simple procedures.

Most patients experience immediate and long-lasting relief from the pain associated with varicose veins, as well as improved appearance of their legs. Following up with a specialist at Cleveland Clinic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery Center is the best way to ensure long-lasting results from vein treatment procedures.

What is involved in recovery?

Your recovery from vein treatment will vary depending on the type of procedure you have. Following sclerotherapy, you’ll be asked to wear compression hose. Most people can return home the same day after receiving vein treatment procedures and are encouraged to walk or perform other light activities right away.

In general, you’ll be able to return to work and to regular activities within a few days after treatment. You should be at least somewhat physically active to avoid complications and encourage circulation. You’ll need to wear compression stockings between two and six weeks after most procedures, and you should avoid strenuous activities for several weeks.

Insurance & Financing

Insurance & Financing

Insurance rarely covers the cost of elective cosmetic surgery and procedures. Please call 216.444.4004 and ask to speak with one of our financial representatives who can explain payment options, including CareCredit financing.