What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins and spider veins. During the procedure, a sclerosing agent is injected into the vein causing the vein to scar and collapse, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into local tissue and eventually fades.
Why have Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is typically used for treating the appearance of blue or red spider veins on legs. These small webs or branches of blue or red lines do not bulge and do not cause symptoms. While largely effective for spider veins, sclerotherapy can also help improve the symptoms associated with small varicose veins such as aching, swelling and night cramps.
What happens during the procedure?
Before the procedure a full medical consultation with our Nurse Practitioner will be undertaken where your medical history, including medications, herbal supplements and allergies will be discussed. For the procedure, you’ll lie on your back with your legs slightly elevated. After cleansing the area to be treated with alcohol, the Nurse will use a fine needle to slowly insert a solution into the appropriate vein. You may feel the prick of the needle and a slight burning sensation. Multiple veins can be treated in one session.
Once the needle is withdrawn, the Nurse will apply compression and massage the area to keep blood out of the injected vessel and disperse the solution. A compression pad will be taped onto the injection site to keep the area compressed while your Nurse moves on to the next vein.
The number of injections depends on the number and size of veins being treated.
How long does it take?
The procedure usually takes 30-45 minutes
What happens after the procedure?
You’ll be able to get up and walk around soon after the procedure. 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 10 days – to maintain compression on the treated veins.
Most people return to their normal activities on the same day, however it is best 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.
Are there any side effects?
Serious side effects with sclerotherapy are rare. Common side effects that may occur at the site of
the injection include:
• Raised red areas
• Small skin sores
• Darkened skin in the form of lines or spots
• New small red blood vessels, called telangiectasias, can appear in the treated area
These side effects usually go away within a few days to several weeks. However some side effects
can take months or even years to disappear completely. You will be fully consulted before any
treatment to discuss the side effects in detail.
Who Should Not Have Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is not an option for everyone. You should not have sclerotherapy if you:
• Are pregnant
• Have had a baby within the last 3 months
• Are breastfeeding
• Are immobile and do not get out of bed
• Have large varicose veins
• Have a blood clot or a history of blood clots
When will I see Results?
If you were treated for small varicose veins or spider veins, you can usually expect to see definitive results in three to six weeks. Larger veins may require three to four months. However, multiple treatments may be needed to achieve the results you want.
Veins that respond to treatment generally don’t come back, but new veins may appear. Our Nurse Practitioner will likely schedule a follow-up visit about a 4-6 weeks after the procedure to determine how well the procedure worked and if you need more sessions. Generally, you need to wait about six weeks before undergoing another sclerotherapy session.