Varicose veins are the blue or purplish enlarged veins you typically see bulging out of a person’s leg, most often on the back of the calve area or on the inside of the legs. If varicose veins are severe, don’t ignore treatment, as they can rupture or form ulcers on the skin, which require immediate attention. Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat varicose veins. The procedure at Aesthetica Skin Centre is designed to improve the appearance of varicose veins. During the sclerotherapy process, Dr Bianca Cowan injects a solution directly into the affected vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell and stick together. In particular, the veins are injected with a sclerosant solution that damages the vein’s internal lining and causes blood clotting within the vein. In time, your own body will then destroy the vein, and it will disappear. The solution generally used for this procedure is called sodium tetradecyl sulphate (STD) and is available in different concentrations depending on the vein’s size being treated.
Frequently Asked Questions:
For the procedure, you’ll lie on your back with your legs slightly elevated. After cleansing the area to be treated with alcohol, Dr Bianca Cowan will use a fine needle to insert the solution into the varicose vein slowly. Some people experience minor stinging or cramps when the needle is inserted into the vein. Once the needle is withdrawn, Dr Bianca Cowan applies compression and massages the area to keep blood out of the injected vessel and disperse the solution. The number of injections depends on the number and size of veins being treated.
You can then get up and walk around. Walking and moving your legs is essential to prevent the formation of blood clots. You’ll be asked to wear compression stockings or bandages — usually for about three weeks. This is to maintain compression on the treated veins. Most people return to their normal activities on the same day, but it may be wise to have someone drive you home after the procedure. It is advisable to avoid strenuous exercise for two weeks after the procedure. You’ll also want to avoid sun exposure to the treated areas during that time. The inflammation caused by the injections combined with sun exposure can lead to dark spots on your skin, especially if you already have a dark skin tone.
Because the procedure is minimally invasive, there are few side effects associated with it. Some minor itching and burning immediately after the treatment is normal and quickly fades. In rare cases, allergic reactions, infection at the injection site, or complications associated with poor injection technique are possible. However, the potential for side effects can be reduced by choosing an experienced, reputable specialist to administer the procedure.
Because sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive, almost pain-free and safe treatment, it can be performed at Aesthetica Skin Centre. Anaesthesia is not needed, and complications are rare.
The number of sessions required depends on the depth, number, and size of the veins being treated. While some patients are happy with the results after just one treatment, others may desire further injections for the optimal effect. These follow up treatments should be spaced at least four weeks apart so that Dr Bianca Cowan can accurately evaluate the previous treatment’s effect before undergoing the following treatment.
Yes, it is currently considered safe to perform sclerotherapy on the hands, arms, face, and other previously avoided areas. Talk with Dr Bianca Cowan about the options available for treating blemishes and vein problems in these delicate areas.
Each session’s injection site takes on average only 15 to 30 minutes to complete, though this can vary depending on the size and extent of the treatment area.
Studies have shown that as many as 50%-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy. Less than 10% of the people who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all. In these instances, Dr Bianca Cowan can use different solutions. In general, veins respond in three to four months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before. If needed, you may need to return for further sclerotherapy sessions.
Veräjänkorva, E., Rautio, R., Giordano, S., Koskivuo, I., & Savolainen, O. (2016). The efficiency of sclerotherapy in the treatment of vascular malformations: A retrospective study of 63 patients. Plastic Surgery International. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/psi/2016/2809152/