Sclerotherapy is a common procedure done to treat unwanted varicose or spider veins. This procedure has been used for over 150 years and has been proven to be beneficial. The surgery involves an injection of solution directly to the vein and only takes about 30 to 45 minutes. The solution injected to the vein causes the blood vessel to become irritated and swell, causing the blood to clot. In time, the treated blood vessel turns to scar tissue and fades from view.
How Is It Done?
You will first be referred to a dermatologist who will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure. The decision is based on your overall health and the reason for the clots. The procedure is usually done in a doctor’s office. The doctor will inject a sodium chloride sterile solution directly to the vein. The number of treated varicose veins done in one session is variable and depends on the size and location of the veins and the overall health of the patient. You may feel mild discomfort and a small amount of cramping for a few minutes after the injection.
Does It Really Work?
It has been shown that about 50 to 80 percent of varicose veins can be eliminated in one session. Less than 10 percent have shown no response to the injection and may need to try a different method. If veins respond to the procedure, it will show results in 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the size. Also, the veins will never reappear, but new veins may occur.
Are There Side Effects?
As with every procedure, they can be mild side effects. You may experience itching up to two days after the injection. The injection sites may be red, raised, or bruised. However, in a few days they will disappear. Larger veins may become lumpier and require additional sessions. Neovascularization, which are small blood vessels, may appear days after the surgery, but with time they too will disappear. These side effects are normal to experience. However, if you experience small ulcers at the injection site, sudden onset of a swollen leg, or inflammation about 5 inches from the groin, contact your doctor as soon as possible. These may be signs of an allergic reaction.
What Else Should I Know?
Before the procedure, be sure to check with your doctor about what types of medications to avoid. Do not use any lotion before or after the injection session. After the treatment, it is recommended to wear support hosiery to compress the treated vessels. For the next 48 hours after treatment, avoid hot compresses, hot baths, and exposure to sunlight. Your doctor will recommend light walking and to resume your normal activities.