What is Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is a very popular procedure used to treat deficient blood vessels, usually small varicose and spider veins. Using a very small needle, sometimes under ultrasound guidance, a sclerosant (chemical foam or liquid) is injected into the offending vein and acts as an irritant to the vein walls which causes them to close and be dissolved by the body. The solutions most commonly used to treat spider veins are sodium tetradecyl sulfate (sometimes referred to as “saline”) and polydocanol (Asclera, Varithena). Either solution causes minor itching and inflammation which lasts about an hour.
Most patients require more than one session of sclerotherapy, however, the number of treatments is based on your specific condition and how many veins have become dysfunctional. Over time, varicose or spider veins fade from sight, leaving you with clearer, healthier looking and feeling legs. A certified vein specialist is able to treat several veins at the same time.
When Sclerotherapy is Not Recommended
Sclerotherapy should not be performed in the following cases:
- - If you are pregnant or nursing. It is not known whether the chemical sclerosant will cause birth defects.
- - If you have a history of allergy to sclerosant or similar substances.
- - If you have blood clots or inflammation in the deep leg veins (deep vein thrombosis - DVT).
What To Do After Sclerotherapy
Patients are encouraged to utilize compression stockings for 24 to 48 hours after spider vein injections. There are no physical restrictions after sclerotherapy, however, avoidance of prolonged sun exposure (tanning or laying out) for the first 72 hours is recommended as the chemical solutions make the injected areas more sensitive to sunlight, which increases the risk of brown spots in the treated areas. Sclerotherapy generally does not require any recovery period. You will likely be able to walk immediately after the treatment, but you should take it easy for a day or two afterward.