Sclerotherapy is a micro-injection procedure destroying spider veins by injecting a scleratant into the vein which irritates the vein wall and causes the vein to close. The injections may be painful and the chemical that is injected may cause a feeling of burning or cramping for a few minutes in the area where the injection was given. You may need repeated sessions as well as many injections per session depending on the extent of your varicose veins.
Sclerotherapy does not require any recovery period. You will be able to walk immediately, drive yourself home and resume your regular activities after the treatment but should avoid aerobic exercises for at least 48 hours. Walking is encouraged. You should avoid hot compresses, whirlpools/saunas, and direct exposure of treated areas to sunlight for 48 hours.You may shower and the injection sites can be washed with soap and water.
Studies have shown sclerotherapy reduces symptoms and improves appearance of the skin in 85% of people who have smaller varicose veins. Less than 10% of people who have sclerotherapy do not respond at all to treatment. This procedure works for most people but there are no guarantees for success. In general spider veins respond to treatment in 3-6 weeks. Each session lasts approximately 20-30 minutes and most clients require 3-6 sessions to achieve results. Prior to beginning treat ment you should avoid taking tetracycline or other antibiotics for 7-10 days to minimize “staining “of the skin. Avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications such as advil, ibuprofen, etc. for 48 hours prior to treatment Do not apply lotion to legs prior to treatment. Bring a pair of shorts to the clinic with you at each visit.
Sclerotherapy should not be done if you:
- Are pregnant or nursing
- Have a history of allergy to sclerosant or similiar substances
- Have blood clots or inflammation in the deep leg veins
- Have a history of asthma
The risks of sclerotherapy include:
- Recurring varicose veins
- Bruising at the injection sites
- Skin color changes along the treated vein. Brown lines or spots appear at the vein site. This is the most common side effect. The discoloration may take 6-12 months to disappear. In some people, it may be permanent. You will be instructed not to tan, sunbathe, or expose treated areas to direct sunlight until the bruising subsides.
- Itching,pain and blistering where veins are treated
Laser therapy may be used to treat smaller reticular veins and spider veins in some cases. If laser treatment is indicated, this will be discussed during your initial consultation.