Sclerotherapy is a popular method for the treatment of varicose and spider veins. Sclerotherapy is done by injecting a solution into the vein. The solution, called a sclerosing agent, is injected through a small needle into the vein. The sclerosing agent causes irritation of the inner lining of the vein causing it to collapse. This does not harm the circulation but rather improves it by eliminating the abnormal vessel.
What causes spider veins?
Certain families are predisposed to this condition, so it is partially genetic. Estrogen, pregnancy, birth control pills, tight clothing, prolonged sitting or standing and trauma make spider and varicose veins worse.
How soon after treatment will the veins disappear?
The appearance of the treated areas will improve between 2 to 6 weeks after treatment. The area will look worse before it begins to look better. Final results will be noticeable approximately 2 months after treatment.
How many treatments will I need?
The first treatment usually takes care of the majority of unwanted veins. Larger, more affected areas may require more treatment sessions. However, new veins may appear that will require additional treatments in the future.
How much time is there between treatments?
The same area should not be injected for at least 6 weeks to allow for healing. Different areas may be treated every week if necessary.
What will I feel with the injections?
A slight stinging or burning sensation may occur with the injections. However, no anesthesia is required.
Is there any downtime?
No, you may return to normal activities immediately after treatment. In fact, it is preferred that you walk for 30 minutes following the injections. It is best if you avoid strenuous physical activity for 72 hours after treatment. You should avoid hot baths and saunas for 2 weeks as heat can cause the blood vessels to dilate. You may be required to wear compression stockings for 3 or more days following the procedure.
Are there any side effects?
A dull ache may persist at the injection site for a few days. Bruising and swelling occurs in almost all patients but clears over a period of 2 to 6 weeks following treatment. Tender hard lumps can occur in the area of injection and can be treated with a cool compress. Other reactions are rare but can include thrombophlebitis, infection, ulceration, and hyperpigmentation.
Are there any types of veins that can not be treated?
Certain types of large varicose veins may not respond readily to sclerotherapy alone. These may require further treatment by a vascular surgeon and may be the result of venous insufficiency. After surgical treatment of the larger vessels, you can receive sclerotherapy to clear up any remaining smaller varicosities and spider veins. Also, some extremely small vessels may be difficult or impossible to treat.
Is there anything I should do prior to treatment?
You should discontinue aspirin and blood thinners 1 week prior to treatment. Do not shave your legs for 2 days prior to treatment and do not use any creams or lotions on the day of the injections. Be sure to bring your compression hose with you to your appointment.
Is there anything I need to do after the procedure?
You should walk for 30 minutes after the injections. You will need to wear the compression stockings continually for 3 days unless otherwise instructed. It is best if you avoid strenuous physical activity for 72 hours after treatment. You should avoid hot baths and saunas for 2 weeks as heat can cause the blood vessels to dilate.
Please remember that the injections are only treating the visible symptoms. The cause of your abnormal veins is still present. New abnormal veins may form and require future treatments. Wearing support hose on a regular basis may reduce the need for further treatment.