Sclerotherapy is a common procedure that is often used on varicose or spider veins. It is a very basic and painless procedure where a very fine needle injects a solution, typically saline, into the offending vein. The vein then dries up and disappears. The solution is not necessarily saline, however. Other sclerosants include almond oil and phenol. This is an old procedure and the improvements tend to be in the sclerosant used and the creation of finer needles.
Also, recently there have been improvements in the overall technique such as ultrasonographic guidance and foam sclerotherapy. One of the first reported attempts at sclerotherapy was in Switzerland in 1682 when a doctor injected acid into a diseased vein.
In the 19th century perchlorate of iron, iodine, and tannin was tried and found to be successful as a sclerosant. Of course, there were side effects and the procedure fell out of use.
In the first part of the 20th century, there was renewed interest in sclerotherapy and the solutions injected included carbolic acid and perchlorate of mercury but they too had side effects.
Some of the more acceptable methods that were adopted were sodium carbonate, sodium salicylate, and quinine. By mid-century, sodium tetradecyl sulfate was tried and it is still in use today. However, the more recent developments in sclerotherapy include duplex ultrasonography.
Since hemorrhoids are varicose veins, the procedure works well on them. The injection is right into hemorrhoid. The usual way is to deal with one vein at a time. This is less disruptive to the body and also, especially when it comes to hemorrhoids, it is less likely to create any painful situations such as irritated flesh rubbing again other irritated flesh.
Such an eventuality is not apt to happen if the veins being treated are in an open area such as the lower leg. The procedure is well tested and painless. There is virtually no need for post-operative care other than the usual requirement to keep the area clean. When there is a break in the skin in the anal area, there is always the slight issue of potential infection due to the waste material that passes through the anus.
The only problem that has been identified is pigmentation where the vein was but when it comes to hemorrhoids, this is not a big issue. And there is always the risk of clots or infection but this is very minimal.
Price-wise, this is also a relatively inexpensive procedure. Some quotes are around $300 per treatment. The cost involved in sclerotherapy tends to be when it is carried out for cosmetic reasons which a visible varicose vein treatment might be. But even this might be covered by insurance. Since hemorrhoidal sclerotherapy is most likely done for pain reduction, which is a good medical reason, it should be covered by insurance.