Sclerotherapy is perhaps the most common medical procedure to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. It’s considered to be minimally invasive, fully approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and it’s common to start seeing results in as little as three weeks – though some patients may require multiple treatments for optimal results.
During a consultation with a vein specialist, it’s important to let a physician know if you have a history of blood clots, as that may impact the course of treatment.
Injection sclerotherapy involves the introduction of a liquid, called a sclerosant, into a vein using a fine needle. Sclerosants — such as sodium tetradecyl sulfate or polidocanol — are chemically designed to harden vein walls, causing them to shrink, collapse and eventually disappear. Over time, blood will re-route its way back to the heart through healthy veins.
A typical procedure lasts about 15 to 30 minutes and doesn’t include anesthesia. Some patients may experience minor stinging or cramps after the needle enters a vein, and the number of injections depends on the size of the treatment area.
However, most people will be able to return to their normal activities that same day, and recovery typically involves the use of a compression stocking for a short period after treatment.
Physicians recommend keeping the treatment area out of direct sunlight to avoid inflammation, which could lead to skin spots.
Foam sclerotherapy employs the injection of a sclerosant plus a gas — such as air or carbon dioxide — and is typically used to treat larger varicose veins. The use of foam increases the efficacy of the treatment, as there is less dilution of a sclerosant by the blood when the foam is used.
Physicians may use ultrasound technology to guide their injections, and recovery from a foam sclerotherapy procedure is similar to liquid injection treatment. Patients may experience temporary redness or mild skin discoloration.
For a vein specialist referral, or for more information on vein disorders and treatments, visit http://www.eVeinScreening.com