Sclerotherapy is a popular treatment option for those suffering from the appearance of varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is used to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins and improve the look of your skin. It is commonly used for spider veins and smaller veins that are not of serious concern, smaller varicose veins that return after surgery, or larger varicose veins when minimally invasive techniques have already been used. Sclerotherapy is successful for about 80 of every 100 people who receive the treatment. Sclerotherapy typically costs less than surgery and does not require a hospital stay. Not to mention it has little to no recovery time.
Sclerotherapy is one of the oldest methods in the medical world and has been used for many years. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a dilute medication called sclerosant into the varicose vein or spider vein. The medication’s purpose is to irritate and scar the damaged veins from the inside out so that the veins can no longer fill with blood. The blood that would normally travel through these veins would travel through healthier veins and then back into the heart. The veins that were treated will eventually close up and be absorbed into your body. While sclerotherapy typically eliminates the vein in one treatment, it is possible to need more than one treatment. Also, sclerotherapy should only be done after the treatment of the underlying cause of the varicose veins, which is venous reflux disease. If the underlying cause is not treated, the veins that are eliminated during sclerotherapy will return. Some common complications from slcerotherapy can include the hyperpigmentation and irritation of the skin at the injection sight. Most of the time the hyperpigmentation fades over time, and the irritation to the skin is very rare.
A newer, less invasive technique is recently being used. This technique allows the injection of the sclerosant with a catheter that is guided to the affected vein with the help of a ultrasound. This technique can be used on larger varicose veins that could not be treated by surgery.
Like any medical procedure, there are some associated risks with sclerotherapy. The most common side effect is that your skin color will change along the treated vein. While most of the discoloration goes away within six to twelve months, it can be permanent in some patients. There could also be some scarring as a result of the ulcers or death of the tissue around the treated area. You could also experience a mild or severe reaction to the sclerosant, and blood clots or damage to the deep vein system could occur. Other risks could include itching, burning, pain, and blistering on the vein area that was treated. And it is important to remember that sclerotherapy does not prevent the varicose veins from returning.
You should not have sclerotherapy done if you are pregnant or nursing, are allergic to sclerosant or similar substances, or have a history of blood clots or inflammation in the deep leg veins.
Post Treatment Aspects
Fortunately, sclerotherapy does not typically require any recovery period. However, you will more than likely need to wear compression socks for a short period of time after the treatment. Also, you will likely be able to walk after the treatment but it is recommended to take the next few days at an easy pace and rest up. This does not mean you are bed ridden, but rather that you avoid strenuous exercise or activity for a few days after treatment. Also, you should avoid exposing your legs to the sun for at least the first two weeks following treatment.