Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical treatment for varicose veins and spider veins, two similar conditions that involve swollen and twisted blood vessels that are visible just under the surface of the skin. They usually occur in the legs, but they are occasionally visible in other parts of the body as well. In addition to being unsightly, these veins frequently cause aching, cramping, general soreness, and sometimes tingling in the legs. Wearing support stockings and losing weight can help, but often sclerotherapy is the recommended method of treatment.
Who Is Not A Candidate For Sclerotherapy?
Unfortunately, not every patient is a good candidate for this treatment. It is not recommended for pregnant women, and it may be contraindicated for people with a history of blood clots as well, depending on their current health. In addition, any vein that could be used for a heart bypass in the future will not be considered for a sclerotherapy treatment.
How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
The treatment involves the injection of a saline or other type of irritating solution into the affected veins. The irritation causes the blood vessels to swell enough to cut off the flow of blood. This eventually causes the veins to collapse, shrink, and become much less visible.
What Is A Treatment Like?
Sclerotherapy is performed in a doctor’s office, and it takes anywhere from 15 to 45 minutes. Patients are asked not to use any lotion on their skin and to avoid certain medications, particularly blood thinners, for some days before the treatment. During the appointment, patients will lie down with their legs elevated and the doctor will inject a solution under the skin with a very fine needle. Most patients experience a little discomfort but no severe pain.
What Does Follow-Up Care Involve?
After a treatment, patients can resume regular activity, but they should avoid aerobic exercise. Doctors will generally have their patients wear a compression stocking to prevent blood from re-entering the treated veins. Most patients need at least one additional treatment to completely collapse a vein, especially a large one.
What Are The Main Benefits Of Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is one of the most effective and most recommended vein treatments available. More than 90% of patients respond well to sclerotherapy and see a 50% to 80% improvement in the appearance of varicose veins after a single treatment. In addition, since it’s an outpatient procedure, it is much less costly than surgery and requires less recovery time. The majority of patients are pleased with the results they get from sclerotherapy.