Sclerotherapy Vein Treatment

Having been around since the 1930s, sclerotherapy vein treatment is an established and trusted way to eliminate varicose veins and the problems they cause.

What is Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy vein treatment is a minimally invasive therapy that successfully eliminates varicose veins. It’s normally performed as an outpatient procedure, although your physician will advise during consultation if an overnight stay is recommended. This is unlikely since most patients recover quickly and are able to walk out of the clinic after a short rest period.

Sclerotherapy vein treatment is a well-established and safe procedure that is a non-invasive alternative to surgery. It gives excellent results with minimal disruption to the patient’s normal daily routine.

Your vein specialist will discuss the options with you, helping you reach an informed decision on your personal best treatment.

Talk to a specialist today.

During the procedure, the surgeon injects a sclerosant solution into the affected veins. The solution irritates the vein walls, which then swell and seal closed. With no further blood flow possible, the vein eventually turns into scar tissue and is absorbed into the body.

The blood that would normally flow through that vein is routed automatically to other healthy veins so there is no loss of circulation. As well as closing the main vein being treated, sclerotherapy has the added benefit of closing off the feeder veins that supply varicose or spider veins, so there is less chance of recurrence.

A dilute sclerosant is used to treat spider veins, telangiectasias or reticular veins, while a foam variant is used to treat slightly larger varicose veins. Very large varicose veins may not be suitable for this therapy.

Foam Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

The chemical solution used in sclerotherapy for varicose veins is mixed with gas (usually carbon dioxide) to create foam, which is more effective in the treatment of larger varicose veins.

Without the foaming action, the solution becomes dilute when it mixes with blood, which reduces its efficacy (smaller veins, such as spider veins, respond well without the foaming action). The foamed solution displaces blood, maximizing the sclerosant action and making it more effective in longer or larger veins.

The surgeon performing the procedure uses ultrasound to map the location of the vein and accurately guide the needles that perform the injections. Local anesthetic numbs the area, making the procedure practically painless. Some tingling sensations or cramps are common, but it shouldn’t actually hurt. The solution is injected into the vein in small volumes at a time until the entire vein is treated.

During the procedure, you may be asked to bend your ankle in order to facilitate blood flow in deeper veins in your leg. At all times, the passage of the foam into the vein is monitored via ultrasound scanning. It is a relatively quick process, normally taking no longer than 30 to 45 minutes, depending of the size and type of vein being treated.

Repeat treatments may be needed to be fully effective, and your physician will advise if this is necessary.

Who is Suitable for Sclerotherapy?

Most people who suffer from varicose or spider veins are suitable for sclerotherapy vein treatment, although there are exceptions. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or suffer from an illness that keeps you bedridden, you won’t be eligible for sclerotherapy.

For those who are pregnant, you will be eligible for consideration for sclerotherapy three months after giving birth.

Safety, Side Effects and Aftercare

After treatment, you’ll be asked to wear support hosiery or bandages to help compress the treated veins. Any dressings, pads or stockings should be worn continuously for five days, but may be reduced to compression stockings alone after this time. Some people find it helpful to wear support hosiery for longer, and this is a personal choice in consultation with your specialist.

Gentle exercise along with the resumption of normal daily activity is encouraged, although patients should refrain from vigorous aerobic exercise or exposure to strong sunlight and heat.

Any side effects are normally minimal and disappear within a short time. They may include:

  • Lumps forming in the treated vein. This is part of the normal clotting process and they will disappear over time.
  • Brown pigmentation of the skin. Some slight discoloration is normal and it will generally fade or disappear completely as the treated area heals.
  • Allergic reactions are rare, but happen in some people. Your specialist will discuss any allergies you have during consultation.
  • Small ulcers can sometimes occur. This is also rare, and they will normally heal within a couple of weeks.

Sclerotherapy vein treatment is a well-established and safe procedure that is a non-invasive alternative to surgery. It gives excellent results with minimal disruption to the patient’s normal daily routine.