What is Sclerotherapy ?

Sclerotherapy effectually treats varicose and spider veins, and is what is said to be the treatment of choice for small varicose veins. What this procedure consists of is the injection of a solution directly into the vein. The solution that is injected then causes the vein to scar and collapse, which forces the blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is then reabsorbed into local tissue and in due course diminishes.

Following sclerotherapy, the treated veins generally fade within a few weeks, however it will occasionally take up to a month before you see the full results. In some instances, more than a few treatments may be needed.

Sclerotherapy is used for a number of reasons, a main one being cosmetic- eg. to improve the appearance of varicose and spider veins. However, this procedure may also improve related symptoms including aching, swelling, burning, and night leg cramps.

This procedure, though safe, is not necessarily for everyone. For instance pregnant women are recommended to wait until after delivery to have the procedure. However, the procedure is a safe procedure with few complications. Temporary side effects include bruising, raised red areas, small skin sores, darkened skin in the form of lines or spots, and multiple tiny red blood vessels. These side effects generally go away within a few days to several weeks.

Other complications are less common but may require medical intervention. These complications include inflammation sometimes causing swelling. One of the more serious side effects is  a blood clot,  this may require drainage, but if it travels into a deeper vein in your leg (deep vein thrombosis), this  carries a risk of pulmonary embolism, which can be lethal. Thus it is essential that you seek immediate medical care if you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain or dizziness, or you cough up blood. Another rare possibility is that tiny air bubbles could rise in your bloodstream, these may not cause symptoms, but if they do, symptoms include  headache, visual disturbances, coughing and nausea. There is also the possibility of an allergic reaction to the solution used for treatment, but this is uncommon.

If you choose to go for treatment, most people return to normal activities on the same day, but it is usually better to have someone drive you home after the procedure. You should also avoid strenuous exercise for two weeks after the procedure. You’ll also want to avoid sun exposure to the treated areas during that time.  You will usually to see definitive results in three to six weeks, while larger veins may require three to four months for the results you want. Treated veins don’t usually come back, however, new veins may appear. The success rate for sclerotherapy as a treatment for varicose and spider veins is said to be between 50 and 80 percent in eliminating treated veins. For those who are troubled by their veins, this is definitely a good option.