Physicians' Negative Perception of Sclerotherapy for Venous Disorders: Review of a 7-Year Experience With Modern Sclerotherapy



Sclerotherapy is the injection of a sclerosing substance directly into a varicosity or telangiectasia to cause damage, fibrosis, and eventual obliteration of the vessel. Although sclerotherapy has been shown to be effective with a low incidence of side effects, many physicians in the United States are unaware of the technique or view it in a negative way. To better define the extent of physician unfamiliarity or prejudice toward sclerotherapy, we surveyed a local medical community of gynecologists by anonymous written questionnaire. The results indicated that 82% of the responding physicians believed that their knowledge of sclerotherapy was insufficient to advise their patients, leaving patients to learn about sclerotherapy from mass media sources. Sclerotherapy was perceived as only slightly effective therapy for varicose veins and was thought to have a relatively high incidence of side effects. With recent improvements in the technique, our collaborative experience with 3000 patients receiving 50000 injections over the past 5 years has shown that sclerotherapy is a safe procedure achieving outstanding cosmetic results with concomitant symptomatic relief of painful varicosities and telangiectases. Sclerotherapy, as practiced today, offers an effective, simple, and less costly alternative to surgical stripping for most varicose and telangiectatic veins. The survey data demonstrate the need to educate the American medical community about the technique and merits of modern sclerotherapy so that patients may be properly guided by their physicians to the best sources of care for their aching and unsighlty leg veins.

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