Sclerotherapy for leg telangiectasia--a blinded comparative trial of polidocanol and hypertonic saline

Dermatol Surg. 1999 May;25(5):381-5; discussion 385-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.1999.08263.x.


Background: Hypertonic saline (HS) and polidocanol (POL) have been in use around the world for sclerotherapy of telangiectasia for many years. However, despite numerous articles in the literature extolling the virtues of their individual use, few studies scientifically compare their relative efficacies.

Objective: To compare, in a statistically significant number of female patients, the relative efficacy of hypertonic saline and polidocanol as sclerosants of leg telangiectasia and reticular feeding veins, using each patient as her own control.

Methods: Eighty-one women with roughly matching leg telangiecasia were treated with sclerotherapy. One leg was injected with 20% saline/2% lignocaine, the other with 1% polidocanol, with the patients blinded as to the sclerosant used for each leg. Assessment of percent reduction of vessels, and the complications of matting and hemosiderin staining was conducted at 2 months by 3 methods: the patient's satisfaction, the treating physician's evaluation, and blinded assessment of before and after photographs.

Results: There was no statistically significant difference between HS and POL treated legs when assessed clinically or photographically. However, POL caused more staining and matting, and despite patients finding HS more painful at injection, patient satisfaction at follow-up was higher with the HS treated leg.

Conclusion: 20% HS and 1% POL have equal efficacy in sclerosing leg telangiectasia and reticular feeding veins. POL causes more adverse sequelae, although these may be related to the solution concentration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertonic Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Leg
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Polidocanol
  • Polyethylene Glycols / therapeutic use*
  • Sclerosing Solutions / therapeutic use*
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Sodium Chloride / therapeutic use*
  • Telangiectasis / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Hypertonic Solutions
  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Polidocanol
  • Polyethylene Glycols
  • Sodium Chloride