Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure that eliminates varicose veins and spider veins. It involves the injection of a solution, known as a sclerosant, directly into the affected vein. The sclerosant irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to shrink, turn into scar tissue, and eventually disappear. Sclerotherapy is effective in improving the appearance of varicose veins and spider veins in addition to alleviating symptoms like aching, swelling, cramping, and burning.
During sclerotherapy, a fine needle is inserted into the skin, and an FDA approved solution, called Sotradecol, is injected into the vein. The solution that is typically used in sclerotherapy is sodium chloride. When the needle is injected, you may feel a slight pinch and a mild burning sensation. The number of veins injected in one session varies depending on the patient’s overall medical condition and the size and location of the veins being treated. The procedure takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes. If you have large varicose veins injected, you may feel a slight cramping sensation for a couple of minutes.
The procedure has a success rate of over 90 percent, and as much as 50 to 80 percent of the veins injected during each session will be eliminated. Spider veins typically respond to treatment within three to six weeks, while large varicose veins respond to treatment within three to four months. The veins that respond to sclerotherapy treatment will not reappear, although it’s possible that new veins will appear in the area over time.
Talk to Dr. Sweda or Dr. Shuster about all of the medications you are taking during your initial consultation. Some types of medication, such as antibiotics, must be avoided in the days preceding treatment. In addition, avoid taking anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen prior to the procedure, and don’t put any lotion on your legs.
After the procedure is complete, you will be instructed to wear compression stockings, which serve to compress the treated veins. You will be able to resume normal daily activities immediately. The doctor will likely encourage you to walk around. Avoid taking hot baths and showers, and do not apply hot compresses or any form of heat to the treatment sites.
After being injected, large varicose veins may become hard and lumpy for several months. Red, raised areas may appear at the injection sites, but they should go away within a few days. Brown lines and spots may also appear at the injection sites, but they typically disappear within three to six months. If bruising occurs at the injection sites, it will most likely disappear in several days or weeks.
Other side effects that can occur after sclerotherapy include the following:
During your initial consultation at the Integrated Vascular Vein Center, the doctor will determine if you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy. You are not eligible for the procedure if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or bedridden. For patients who have a history of blood clots, eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Dr. Shuster is dedicated to the treatment of all vascular diseases specializing in vein therapies.Meet Dr. Shuster