Sclerotherapy injects a special chemical called sclerosant into a smaller varicose vein to damage the inner lining of the vein, causing the vein to collapse. This procedure can be performed in a doctor’s clinic or office, taking around 5 to 30 minutes, depending on the amount and size of varicose veins to be treated. Once the sclerosant is injected, pressure is applied over the treated area to prevent blood return when you stand up.
The sclerotherapy injection might be a little painful and the sclerosant that is injected can cause a burning sensation in the area where the injection was given. You might need to repeat these sessions in some cases. This will depend on the extent of your varicose vein problem and the type of sclerosant used.
There is a newer and minimally invasive procedure that allows the doctor to administer sclerosant using a catheter. The sclerosant and catheter are guided to the affected vein using a machine called a duplex ultrasound. This process allows the sclerotherapy treatment to be done on bigger varicose veins that once required a surgical proceedure, where bigger varicose veins are tied off and removed.
What to Expect After Sclerotherapy
Generally, sclerotherapy does not require a recovery period. You can walk after the treatment, although you may need to take it easy for the first one or two days after the treatment. Bed rest is not required in most cases, but you might have to avoid strenuous activities for a few days following sclerotherapy. Also, you should avoid exposing your legs to sunlight for the first two days following the procedure. There may be a need to wear compression stockings for a few days to maintain pressure and limit blood flow.
Why Sclerotherapy is Done
Sclerotherapy is used to treat small veins and spider veins that are not causing serious problems but you may find unsightly. Smaller varicose veins can be addressed with sclerotherapy but it is recommended to avoid this procedure with medium and larger veins that are causing you problems. If you have larger varicose vein problems, you should consult a vascular specialist.
Sclerotherapy should not be done if you are nursing or pregnant, as it is not yet known if the sclerosant gets into breast milk or causes birth defects.
How Well Does Sclerotherapy Work
Removing spider veins with sclerotherapy does not require a hospital stay, costs less than surgery, and allows for a quicker return to work and normal activities. This procedure can also decrease symptoms and improve the overall look of your skin. It works in about 80 out of 100 individuals.
What are the Risks of Sclerotherapy
- Change of skin color along the treated vein. This is the most common side effect of the procedure. It can take 6 to 12 months to disappear, although it may be permanent in some.
- Bruising, itching, blistering and mild pain to the treated area
- Scarring to the surrounding area when sclerosant is injected outside the vein.
- Mild allergic reaction to the sclerosant
- Possibility of blood clots or damage to the leg vein system
When done for cosmetic reasons, schlerotherapy is not covered by most health insurance companies. If you are considering undergoing procedure small varicose vein treatment, learn as much as you can about the skill level of the doctor first. When looking for a doctor that performs spider vein treatments in Manheim Township, start with your family practitioner for referrals. The best treatment for spider veins is schelerotherapy and has been the gold standard for many years.