Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat varicose veins and “spider veins.” During Sclerotherapy, the physician injects a solution directly into the affected vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell and stick together.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure designed to improve the appearance of your varicose veins. The veins are injected with a solution called a sclerosant which damages the internal lining of the vein and causes blood clotting within the vein. In time, your own body will then destroy the vein and it will disappear. The solution normally used for this procedure is called sodium tetradecyl sulfate (STD) and is available in different concentrations depending on the size of the vein being treated.
Varicose veins are the blue or purplish enlarged veins you typically see bulging out of a person’s leg, most often on the backs of the calves 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.
Causes of varicose
In many cases, they run in families. Women seem to develop this problem more often than men. Changes in estrogen levels in the blood may have a role in the development of varicose veins. Such hormonal changes occur during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding, and menopause.
Other factors that may contribute include:
- Standing or sitting for long periods.
- Being immobile for long periods – for example, being confined to bed.
- Lack of exercise
For the procedure, you'll lie on your back with your legs slightly elevated. After cleansing the area to be treated with alcohol, your doctor will use a fine needle to slowly insert a solution into the appropriate vein. The solution, in liquid form, works by irritating the lining of the vein, causing it to swell shut and block the flow of blood. Eventually, the vein will become scar tissue and disappear. Some people experience minor stinging or cramps when the needle is inserted into the vein. Once the needle is withdrawn, your doctor applies compression and massages the area to keep blood out of the injected vessel and disperse the solution.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.
After the procedure
You can then get up and walk around. Walking and moving your legs is important to prevent the formation of blood clots.
You'll be asked to wear compression stockings or bandages — usually for about three weeks *— 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.
What are the side effects of Sclerotherapy?
Because the procedure is minimally-invasive, very few side effects are 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. The potential for side effects can be reduced by choosing an experienced, reputable specialist to administer the procedure.
Where is the procedure done?
Since sclerotherapy is minimally-invasive and almost pain-free, it can be performed at our doctor's office. Anesthesia is not needed and complications are infrequent. Although sclerotherapy is very safe, it is considered to be so only when administered by a professional.
How many sclerotherapy treatments are required?
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 the effects of the previous treatment can be accurately evaluated before injecting more. Patients can determine the number of treatments they may need and the cost associated with them by discussing their situation with their specialist.
Can sclerotherapy be done on the arms or face?
Yes, it is currently considered safe to perform sclerotherapy on the hands, arms, face and other areas previously avoided in this treatment. Talk with your doctor about the options available for treating blemishes and vein problems in these delicate areas.
How long is each sclerotherapy session?
The injection portion of each session 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, different solutions can be tried. Although this procedure works for most patients.
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 return for injections*.
All our photographs of before and after treatment results are examples only, and do not constitute an implied or any other kind of guarantee of the result of treatment procedures. Results can vary significantly between our clients. All our treatment results are subject to the individualities of each client.
Furthermore, all treatment procedures carry potential risks and complications which are described in detail in our treatment consent forms. These may include but are not limited to, bleeding, infection, asymmetry, dissatisfaction with the result and the expense of further treatments to manage a complication (patient forms). If you have any questions regarding these potential risks and complications. Please discuss them with our doctors or aesthetic therapist prior to treatments.
Before undergoing a treatment, please be sure that you understand that YOUR actual results will likely VARY SIGNIFICANTLY from other patient’s results, including their BEFORE & AFTER photos.
This is quite important to understand — that EVEN when you feel that you look very similar to another client in their BEFORE images, your results will likely vary significantly — because you are a unique person. Every individual has NOT only a completely unique physique but also uniquely individualistic body healing capacities, scarring tendencies and recovery processes — some of which are unpredictable even in very-healthy patients who rest adequately and do ALL the other right things before and after their procedure.
Please be noted, our doctors and aesthetic therapists offer you our highest expertise in our aesthetic procedures.