Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat varicose veins. It involves the injection of a solution directly into the damaged vein to diminish the appearance of the varicose veins and also minimize the pain and side effects that arise due to the damaged veins.
Candidates for sclerotherapy
Before the procedure, patients need to consult with a specialist who will determine whether they are good candidates for sclerotherapy or not. It’s essential for patients to inform their doctors about any medication they’re on including aspirin and herbal supplements, along with their medical conditions, illness, and the possibility of being pregnant. All these information will help the doctor make an informed decision regarding candidacy.
Sclerotherapy starts with the doctor cleaning the skin around the affected area. He or she will then use a very fine needle to inject a salt solution into the vein. At this point, the patient may feel some discomfort and cramping for a minute or two, particularly when larger veins are injected. Sclerotherapy is often fast and can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour depending on how severe the condition is.
How many veins are injected in a single session will depend on the location and size of the veins, and the patient’s general medical condition. A surgeon or dermatologist do the procedure in-office. After the treatment, the patient should not be involved in any form of aerobic activity for a few days. They should also avoid hot compresses, hot baths, direct exposure to sunlight and saunas or whirlpools for 48 hours after treatment.
Possible risks and side effects
Sclerotherapy side effects and risks may include minor stinging, cramping, discomfort, swelling, skin discoloration, raised red areas around the injection site, or burning in the vein that’s injected. The procedure may also be painful, mainly if the solution leaks into the surrounding tissues. The good thing is that all these effects go away within a few days.
Brown spots or lines can show around the treatment area too, but often disappear after three to six months – in some instances, it may take longer, or become permanent.
More severe side effects include:
Formation of blood clots in the treated veins
Skin ulceration around near the injection site
Allergic reaction to the solution used
It’s crucial for patients to keep in touch with their doctors following the treatment to help enhance the effectiveness of the procedure and take care of any potential side effects.
Sclerotherapy is an ideal treatment for smaller varicose veins. Patients may notice improvement just a few weeks of the procedure. Larger veins, however, may take up to four months for visual enhancements to be seen.
A 2014 study revealed that 83% of patients who underwent sclerotherapy experienced an alleviation of pain from varicose vein related issues. But even so, it is imperative for patients to have a realistic expectation about the efficacy of the procedure. Sclerotherapy does not guarantee that there won’t be side effects or visual traces of varicose veins after treatment.