Unattractive and often painful spider and varicose veins are most often caused by prolonged standing, pregnancy, and heredity. These veins typically become more and more noticeable over time and increase in prominence as we age. Fortunately, there is a simple treatment for this problem—sclerotherapy.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure that involves injecting a sclerosing liquid through a tiny needle into the spider or varicose vein. This solution replaces the blood in the vein and causes irritation and scarring of the walls of the vessel. The body then begins its natural healing process and the vein begins to shrink and disappear.
Sclerotherapy is one of the most common treatments for spider and varicose veins and has been in use for more than 75 years.
Who is a candidate?
Our physicians and staff will evaluate your varicose and spider veins. We will order a preliminary ultrasound (particularly patients with large bulging veins) to see if endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) or ambulatory phlebectomy needs to be performed before the sclerotherapy. The treatment strategy will be discussed in detail with each patient prior to starting therapy.
What is a treatment session like?
The sclerosing agent is injected into the spider or varicose veins through a tiny needle. Discomfort is minimal and no anesthesia is required. You will need to bring support hose to your appointment. The hose applies compression to the treated vein following sclerotherapy and helps prevent recurrence.
Are there any side effects?
Following sclerotherapy, the injected areas may have some mild swelling and itching which passes in 20-30 minutes. The treated vein may darken in color and the area surrounding the vein can appear bruised. In addition, treatment of larger veins can result in skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation; this is temporary and fades over time.
Are there activity limitations after treatment?
In the vast majority of cases, patients are allowed to resume regular activities immediately after treatment. However, vigorous exercise or excessive standing is not advised for 24 to 48 hours. It is recommended that patients wear support hose for 7 to 14 days following sclerotherapy (depending on the size of the veins treated).
What results can I expect?
Patients typically notice gradual improvement with successful disappearance of 60-80% of the treated vessels.
How many treatments will it take?
Patients typically need two to four treatment sessions to achieve optimal results.