What Is Sclerotherapy?

Do you have uncomfortable, unsightly veins on your legs that you would like to get rid of?  Varicose and spider veins are more common than most people realize, but fortunately, they can be easily treated.  Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for spider and varicose veins. It is a safe, effective treatment that can remove troublesome veins for good.   But what is sclerotherapy? 


What Is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for spider veins and smaller varicose veins.  It is a straightforward procedure in which a special saline solution (sclerosant) is used to treat the abnormal vein. 

Sclerotherapy is often done for purely cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of the veins.  However, it can also ease the symptoms associated with venous insufficiency.

Venous insufficiency occurs when the one-way valve in the vein malfunctions, causing the blood to flow backward and accumulate in the vein.  This can lead to symptoms such as swelling, aching, and tiredness in the affected area, usually the legs.   

Preparing For Sclerotherapy

During the consultation, patients should advise their doctor of any previous vein problems or medical conditions that could cause complications.    In the weeks before surgery, patients should stop taking medications and supplements that could increase the risk of bleeding.

Patients should not shave or apply lotion to the treatment area within 24 hours of sclerotherapy. It is also best to wear comfortable clothing for surgery.

How Does Sclerotherapy Work?

The sclerosing solution is injected directly into the diseased vein using a tiny needle.  The solution irritates the vein walls and causes the vein to close.  The body absorbs the treated vein over time, and it eventually disappears from view. Once the vein is closed the blood flow is naturally redirected through the healthy veins. 

Sclerotherapy takes less than an hour to complete.  Most patients need 2-3 treatments to achieve the best results.  The number of treatments required varies based on the size and location of the veins.  

Is Sclerotherapy Painful?

Sclerotherapy is not painful, but patients may experience mild discomfort during treatment when the saline solution is being injected into the vein.  

What To Expect After Treatment?

After sclerotherapy, patients may experience side effects such as bruising, skin discoloration, swelling, and raised red areas at the injection site.  However, these are minor and usually resolve within a few days. 

Patients are encouraged to walk around after sclerotherapy to improve circulation in the veins and inhibit the formation of blood clots. Most patients can resume normal activities the same day.  

The treated veins are usually compressed after sclerotherapy, and this involves wearing compression stockings for about 7-10 days. 

How Soon Will I See Results?

It typically takes 3-6 weeks to see the full results of sclerotherapy.  However, results may take longer for thicker veins. Varicose or spider veins treated with sclerotherapy don’t usually return, but new veins may develop.

Are You A Candidate For Sclerotherapy?

If you have troublesome varicose veins that you have not been able to get under control using other methods, you may be a good candidate for sclerotherapy.   Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are usually advised not to undergo the procedure.  

An evaluation by a vascular specialist is the best way to determine if sclerotherapy would be the right option for you.

If you are considering sclerotherapy, be sure to choose your vein specialist well. The success of the procedure is directly dependent on the skill and technique of the vein doctor. 

Sclerotherapy is an effective remedy for embarrassing spider or varicose veins.   Once the veins have been fully absorbed by the body after treatment, you can enjoy clear, healthy-looking skin for a long time. 

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