Sclerotherapy is a form of treatment which is considered highly effective for dealing with small dilated superficial veins. It involves the injection of a solution which causes undesired veins to scar away, forcing the vascular system to reroute itself through healthier alternatives.
This is a minor procedure, which is usually conducted in a doctor's office, without the use of anesthesia. The collapsed vein eventually disappears, reabsorbed by the body. This process takes anywhere from two to three weeks to, rarely, a month or two. Multiple treatments may be needed.
There are several reasons why a person may undergo sclerotherapy.
- Cosmetic elimination of spider veins or varicose veins
- Relief of symptoms such as aching, swelling, or burning
- Relief of night cramps and other painful conditions
Please note that, as with many cosmetic procedures, it is advised to delay this treatment in the event that one is currently pregnant or breastfeeding.
How Sclerotherapy Works
A liquid solution is injected directly into the targeted veins, using a very fine needle. The solution irritates the veins' lining, causing them to swell shut and redirect blood flow elsewhere. The treatment is encouraged with a post-injection compress and reduction in activities, which also encourages the even distribution of the solution. Some patient experiences will differ.
The number of injections required will depend upon the surface area to be covered. Larger veins may require the use of an injectable foam, instead of the liquid solution. For otherwise painful injections, the anesthetic lidocaine may be used. The experience is not normally painful. Intense or prolonged pain may indicate leakage of the solution from the targeted veins into the surrounding tissue. In this case, the doctor should be notified, so that the pain may be effectively treated. It is not otherwise a serious concern.
Treatment After Sclerotherapy
It is important to walk and use the affected area after the procedure. This helps to reduce the risk of blood clots. After this, bandages or compression stockings will need to be worn, generally from ten to fourteen days. After undergoing sclerotherapy, the patient is advised to have someone drive them home, and to avoid particularly strenuous physical activity for a period of approximately two weeks.
During this same period of time, it is also advisable to avoid prolonged exposure of the treated area to the sun; this can lead to a darkening of the skin over the affected area, which is particularly common to those who already have a dark skin tone.
Treatment at Calabasas Dermatology Center
Please contact your sclerotherapy experts at our boutique practice to determine whether you may be qualified to undergo the sclerotherapy procedure. If indicated, our team of experts can then give you the best treatment possible.
Side Effects of Sclerotherapy
This is a very safe procedure. Patients may experience mild bruising, redness or sores, at or around the point of injection. Skin darkening, and a temporary increase in the prominence of spider veins may also occur. These symptoms are infrequent, and will usually go away quickly on their own.
There are a few more severe side effects that may require treatment:
- Inflammation, if lasting for an unusual length of time (more than one to two weeks).
- Blood clotting, which occurs rarely in the treated vein, and may require drainage.
- Headaches, dizziness or nausea may arise from the presence of tiny air bubbles in the bloodstream.
- On rare occasions, individuals do present with an allergic reaction to the sclerotherapy solution.
Rarely, these more severe complications may indicate a serious problem, such as a blood clot moving into a major artery, or air bubbles not dissipating of their own accord. Any severe swelling, chest pain, difficulty breathing, or inability of the patient to move their arms or legs properly should be immediately reported to your doctor. These are extremely rare instances and every effort is used to prevent these effects as much as possible.