Sclerotherapy is an effective and minimally invasive treatment of varicose and spider veins. It is also known as spider vein treatment. This procedure involves the injection of a solution directly into the affected veins, causing them to shrink and eventually disappear.
Varicose veins treatment can improve the symptoms of venous insufficiency. This therapy is the primary treatment for small varicose veins in the legs. It relieves some of the spider veins symptoms, including ache, burning, swelling and night cramps.
Spider vein treatment typically results in the elimination of up to 50 to 80 percent of varicose veins that are injected with the treatment solution. It is a minimally-invasive procedure that ensures minimal recovery time as the treated veins tend to fade within a few weeks.
Otherwise healthy people with venous insufficiency that is poorly controlled with compression stockings are the best candidates for sclerotherapy.
The eligibility of the candidate is decided based on the overall health of the patient and the area requiring treatment, in addition to the reason behind the clot in the vein. The dermatologist helps select the correct chemical sclerosing agent, which is then injected into the blood vessel to make it collapse.
This treatment is not suitable for pregnant women and females on birth control pills. Selected veins may not be treated using sclerotherapy if that vein could be put into use during future heart bypass surgery.
Sclerotherapy is performed in an outpatient procedure, under the supervision of an expert dermatologist or a cosmetic surgeon. In rare cases, patients may require hospital stay following the procedure.
During sclerotherapy procedure, a selected salt solution is injected directly into the vein with the help of a fine needle. This solution typically contains two sclerosants, namely sodium tetradecyl sulfate and polidocanol (Asclera).
The solution is usually in the liquid form. It works by irritating the lining of the vein, causing it to swell and block the flow of blood. Finally, the vein will become a scar tissue and disappear after some time.
Sometimes a foam version of the solution may be used, usually when a larger vein is involved. Foam is preferred over liquid in this case because it tends to cover more surface area than liquid.
You may experience mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes during the procedure, especially when larger veins are injected. Spider vein treatment usually takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes. The number of veins injected in one session depends on the size and location of the veins.
After the procedure is done, your doctor applies compression and massages the area to keep the blood out of the injected vessel and disperse the solution.
There are several variations of the sclerotherapy procedure. The doctor may decide to use laser or ultrasound during the procedure for better guidance and results. The sclerotherapy cost for such procedures is higher than simple injection approach.
You will be able to get up, walk around, and drive yourself home after sclerotherapy procedure. You can resume your regular daily activities on the same day of the procedure. Walking and moving your legs are encouraged to prevent the formation of blood clots.
After sclerotherapy, you will be instructed to wear support hosiery or bandages to "compress" the treated vessels for about two weeks. Your doctor will probably advise you to avoid strenuous exercise and exposing the treated area to the sun for two weeks after the procedure.
In addition, your doctor will ask you to avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed. Usually, it takes three to six weeks to respond, and larger veins respond in three to four months. Spider veins or varicose veins will not reappear if the treated veins respond to sclerotherapy.
Usually, sclerotherapy works for most of the patients, but there is no guarantee for success. Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. But the chances of infection requiring antibiotic treatment is estimated to be less than 1 in 1,000.
A few patients may experience bruises, leg pain, blood trapping, and raised and red bumpy skin after the surgery. You must inform your surgeon if you notice any of these side effects.
Besides these, some allergic reactions to sclerosing solutions and local anaesthetics can also occur. They can be serious, but they are extremely rare. A different solution can be used for subsequent treatments when allergic reactions occur.
The primary reason why patients suffering from this condition seek treatment is because of the bleeding or aesthetically displeasing appearance that appears, especially on the face.
The interventions range from simple compression techniques (that is, wearing compression stockings) to surgical procedures. The most widely used approach, however, is sclerotherapy. This technique might require multiple sessions and treatment for achieving a final result and satisfying outcome. The treatment sessions usually last up to an hour and usual activity can be restored as soon as 15 minutes after the injection. Side effects are rare and usually resolvable with time.
The expected cost of spider veins treatment in the UK ranges from 175 USD (125 pounds) to 450 USD (325 pounds) per session, based on multiple factors. Hence, this can be averaged out to around 300 USD (225 pounds) per session.
Here are some of the factors that usually affect the cost of sclerotherapy in the UK -
1. NHS: The biggest factor that affects the cost of this treatment is the severity of the issue. The NHS does not cover the cost of non-serious, uncomplicated, and asymptomatic cases of spider veins. In simple words, aesthetic or cosmetic surgeries are not covered. The NHS follows a grading system that classifies the underlying conditions that would cause this condition (mainly the varicose veins) and based on the severity of the situation scaling from
1 (meaning these are very small thread veins) - Mainly cosmetic and unsuitable for treatment with the NHS
to 6 (meaning skin changes with active leg ulceration) - These varicose veins are venous ulcers, hard to heal and very painful, and can be treated with the help of the NHS.
This is how the treatment coverage is decided. Therefore, since spider veins usually fall under the first category, they are not included within the NHS treatment. Patients will have to approach private dermatology or cosmetic clinics and/or vascular physicians for the treatment.
2. Duration of therapy: based on the underlying cause of spider veins, the condition could take a comparatively longer or shorter duration to get resolved completely. Furthermore, some inherited conditions pose the risk of recurrence due to the genetic component involved.
There are multiple conditions regarding why spider veins are formed and therefore these causes can be classified broadly under one of the following categories:
Spider veins caused due to – inherited conditions
Acquired spider veins caused due to non-hereditary reasons
Spider veins formed due to injuries
Spider veins formed due to tumors (often in case of skin cancers)
Spider veins formed due to drug use or other treatments
This would ultimately and indirectly extend the duration of treatment that is the time required for complete disappearance.
3. Complexity – The spider veins commonly manifest on the face and (or) lower limbs region. Based on whether the affected vessels are arterial capillaries or venular capillaries they might have a red colored or bluish - purple colored appearance. The condition when affects the facial area, might cause displeasure to the sufferer since it causes considerable distortion aesthetically. Based on the patient’s preference he/she might opt for correcting this feature. Facial veins are relatively the least expensive to be treated than the other affected areas like the lower extremities due to their fine structure and smaller area.
4. Number of Sessions – The cost of the treatment is driven up significantly if the number of sessions required to eliminate the condition entirely is more in number. The number of sessions is personalized and is highly dependent on the patient’s initial response to the treatment.
5. Surgeon’s fee- A vascular surgeon is highly specialized in their field. Having said that, it is only natural that experienced and skillful surgeons are found to be in high demand, while the surgeon’s fee can vary from doctor to doctor depending upon his/her demand, reputation, and expertise within the area. Since the surgeon’s demand is also to be factored into the total cost of the procedure, one would have to spend higher to seek their services. An established surgeon will usually have numerous patients with satisfying results. Therefore, one can expect that the fees will be a little higher than surgeons who are just starting out in their careers.
6. Clinic - The total cost involved in surgery depends on the number and kind of facilities that a clinic or hospital has. A few of the factors include:
· Advanced nature of the facilities
· The number of patients that usually visit there
· The repute of the clinic or hospital
· Aftercare services – if required
· Financing facilities
7. Location - The location of the clinic will also determine the cost of the procedure. If a facility is in the heart of the city or even within London, then the price of surgery can be significantly higher than the ones within the London suburbs.
Although there are over two hundred and fifty private cosmetic or vascular clinics (outside of the NHS - approved general hospitals) offering sclerotherapy and other modes of therapy for vascular malformations such as the spider veins. The clinics mentioned below, have gained considerable popularity and have widespread repute across the United Kingdom. This makes them worth mentioning.
a. The Whiteley Clinic has its branches located in Bristol, Guildford, and London. They offer same-day walk-in and walk-out surgeries for varicose veins and so accordingly the micro sclerotherapy treatment session also offered at their clinic, would involve only a few hours of the patient’s time. Although the price of treatment could be on the higher side of the average range, the popularity, patient satisfaction, and abundant reviews make it one of the valid choices while choosing sclerotherapy. Their establishment type falls under the group hospital type.
b. Dr. Newman’s Clinic located in Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, and Newcastle & the UK Vein Clinic is one of the most sought after and easily accessible clinics throughout the United Kingdom due to its widespread location for vascular treatments. Since location can play a significant role in the treatment cost, Dr. Newman’s clinic would be an affordable choice for a patient. Dr. Newman’s Clinic provides the leading specialists in terms of non-laser thread vein removal, through a treatment called thermocoagulation. This method uses microwaves to warm up minute blood vessels and destroy them quickly with the help of heat. Dr. Newman’s Clinics also operates in a partnership with Mr. Stephen Black, head of the Vascular Department at London’s Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospital. This opens avenues into seeking their services through London’s Guys and St. Thomas’ Hospital.
c. Veincentre located in Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxfordshire, Southampton, Stoke, and new clinics in Birmingham, Cambridge, and Cardiff is operated through several consultant vascular surgeons. Veincentre is the best choice of clinics both in terms of accessibility and affordability. They are not only known within the United Kingdom but also known across all of Europe for their efficient and affordable treatment facilities. Their continued standard and quality of care lies in their chosen consultant vascular surgeons coupled with in-house training and coaching. Additionally, they facilitate their care and treatments through state-of-the-art equipment as well as treatment kits.
Some of the well-known vascular surgeons in the United Kingdom include the following:
a. Dr. David Greenstein is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon with about 32 years of experience.
b. Dr. Donald Adam is a Consultant Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon with about 31 years of experience.
c. Martin Claridge is a Consultant Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon with 25 years of experience.
d. Hosaam Nasr is a Consultant Vascular & Endovascular Surgeon with 20 years of experience.
e. Mark Whiteley of Whitely Clinic is a Consultant Venous Surgeon and Consultant Phlebologist or Vein Specialist
f. Available at London, Guildford, and Bristol with over 35 years of experience
g. Tahir Hussain is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon from Manchester with around 34 years of experience.
h. Ferdinand Serracino-Inglott- a Consultant Vascular and Endovascular Surgeon with about 26 years of experience.
Sclerotherapy relies on the targeted and systematic destruction of the damaged blood vessels, that is, the spider veins. This technique includes injection of a sclerosing agent which is a cytotoxic chemical or biological substance (in the liquid state) that destroys the blood vessels by hardening them, dehydrating them, or causing blood clots which eventually degrade the vessel tissue. The mechanism of action is highly reliant on the type of ingredient used. Ultimately the damaged tissue is removed from our body, by natural elimination and the affected vessels fade away. In 70 to 90 percent of the cases, sclerotherapy is highly successful and the success rate on average comes up to 86 percent.
The healthcare systems in the United Kingdom receive accreditation from QHA Trent and United Kingdom Accreditation Forum. QHA Trent is an independent organization that aims to improve the quality of medical care and reduce risks for patients, healthcare providers, and the general public. Service providers and service users have a mechanism to support quality improvement by integrating different accreditation programs with regulatory bodies and other improvement processes. The accreditation bodies evaluate a healthcare system based on parameters, such as administrative management, performance management, and quality of patient care.
The United Kingdom attracts a large number of medical tourists every year because of its world-class healthcare infrastructure and medical technology innovations. In the last few years, the country has seen tremendous growth in the medical tourism industry, mostly due to more investment in technology and communication and transport. The United Kingdom’s healthcare system has received worldwide recognition due to some unique aspects like appointments and same-day diagnosis, rapid response multi-disciplinary review teams, and emerging treatments. Some of the internationally acclaimed institutions in the United Kingdom are London Bridge Hospital, BUPA Cromwell, and Great Ormond Street which are supported by highly professional consultants and all modern facilities.
The United Kingdom boasts of a large pool of world-class doctors who are much competent and skilled in their specialty area. They have to undergo mandatory rigorous training to achieve the highest level of excellence in their niche. The quality of doctors in the country matches the international standards. Majority of them have been educated at premier universities. There are many skilled surgeons who have the capability to handle even the most complicated cases with great ease, particularly those associated with knee replacement, gallbladder removal, and hip replacement. The country also has some of the most renowned cardiologists, neurologists, gynecologists, and orthopedic doctors who have handled critical cases effectively.
The first thing that you need to check is whether you require a visa to visit the United Kingdom for treatment because a visa is not required for some countries. People coming from Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates can apply for a visa waiver. The documents required for applying for a medical visa include:
If you need further treatment, you can extend your visa by 6 months.
The United Kingdom has a large number of world-class hospitals, as listed below:
Equipped with all modern facilities, the hospitals offer a large number of procedures in modern surroundings, supported by well-trained doctors. There are a lot of other reasons that contribute to the popularity of these hospitals, including efficiency of doctors and other healthcare staff, safety aspects, low mortality rate, and high success rates, and patient-centric care. To find the top hospitals in the United Kingdom, there are a few rating systems you can check. The current highest ranked hospital in the country is the Royal Berkshire NHS Hospital, ranked at 67 in the world. You can refer to the inspection ratings of the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The United Kingdom has received worldwide recognition for its excellence in procedures like:
The BAAPS audit results revealed that breast reductions and breast augmentation are the top two surgical procedures in the country. The success rate of cancer treatment in the United Kingdom is high due to a number of reasons, such as technological advancements, clinical research, and well-trained doctors. Many people prefer the United Kingdom for hip replacement because of well-trained orthopedic surgeons, speedy recovery, and the latest techniques.
The most popular cities that are preferred by medical tourists in the United Kingdom are:
Edgbaston Medical Quarter offers some of the cutting-edge places to seek treatment in the United Kingdom providing quick access to quality treatments, especially in trauma, oncology, diabetes, and fertility. One of the popular cities for seeking treatment, Birmingham boasts state-of-art infrastructure, reputed hospitals, better connectivity, and skilled doctors. Attracting people from different corners of the world to seek treatment, London is the hub for world-class hospitals offering a number of procedures with high success rates.
Yes, vaccines are recommended or required for the United Kingdom. The CDC and WHO recommend the below vaccines for the country:
It takes some time to develop immunity after vaccination, so it is important to get vaccinated at least 8 weeks prior to the travel date. If you have a specific medical condition that prevents you from getting vaccinated, the same will be contraindicated by a medical practitioner. Always check with a doctor and the government authority as to what vaccination must be taken.
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