Is Sclerotherapy Right for You?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure that uses an FDA-approved medication called a sclerosant that is injected into varicose or spider veins to collapse and seal the damaged vessels, eliminating them and the symptoms that come along with them.
Why do Varicose Veins and Spider Veins Need Treatment?
When people think varicose and spider veins, they often think of the cosmetics. These damaged veins are unattractive, but they are also indicative of a more serious problem called chronic venous insufficiency. The goal of treatment is to seal the damaged veins, which reroutes blood into healthy veins. Treating these conditions helps improve overall vein health and therefore improve the function of the circulatory system.
Varicose veins also come with the potential for complications like deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), skin thickening and discoloration, bleeding from varicose veins, skin ulcers (open sores), and thrombophlebitis (blood clot with inflammation of the vein).
When is Sclerotherapy an Ideal Treatment?
Sclerotherapy is a treatment used to eliminate small to mid-sized varicose veins and spider veins. It can be performed on patients who have had previous vein stripping and/or other vein treatments who have a reoccurrence of varicose veins or those who have residual veins after vein ablation or phlebectomy. It’s an ideal treatment for targeting the root cause of varicose and spider veins seen at the surface of the skin. It’s also ideal to have this procedure performed at the same time as vein ablation or after.
Sclerotherapy isn’t ideal for women who are pregnant or breast feeding. Doctors carefully evaluate whether people who have had blood clots in the past are good candidates based on health history and the underlying reason for the clot.
Benefits of Sclerotherapy
- High Success Rate
- Targets veins below the surface of the skin
- Treats the root cause of spider and varicose veins
- Office-based procedure
- Minimally invasive procedure
- No incisions
- No stitches
- No hospital stay
- No general or even local anesthesia necessary
- No down time
- Return to work and normal activity immediately
- Drive yourself to and from treatments
There are two types of sclerotherapy: surface sclerotherapy and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. Both versions of this procedure are non-surgical and minimally invasive.
Sclerotherapy only takes about 15 minutes to complete. A very small needle is used to inject a special medication into the diseased vein to cause the vein to spasm and collapse, cutting off the blood supply so that the vein can be reabsorbed into the body. During the procedure, some patients experience discomfort and/or a cramping sensation for a few seconds to a few minutes upon injection, especially when large numbers of veins are being treated.
The area is then wrapped in a pressure bandage and a compression stocking is applied to help speed recover and reduce the impact of side effects. You may be asked to walk around for 15 minutes or so following the procedure, then you can go about your day as usual.
Surface sclerotherapy is performed on small spider veins, small to medium varicose veins, and other small, damaged vessels visible at the surface of the skin. It’s a procedure that’s more cosmetic in nature. If you don’t additionally seek treatment for the underlying condition that has caused your spider veins, it’s likely that they’ll return despite successful sclerotherapy treatments.
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy uses ultrasound technology to pinpoint problem veins, allowing for accurate treatment on both veins visible at the surface, but also damaged veins deeper in the legs. It allows doctors to see the venous structures so that treatment can be more effectively administered. This type of sclerotherapy is most commonly used after vein ablations to eradicate remaining diseased varicose and spider veins.
Recovery from Sclerotherapy
Regardless of which type of sclerotherapy is performed, recovery is essentially the same. You can go back to your regular activities immediately after the procedure is completed, and you can even drive yourself home. However, you should avoid any strenuous activities for a few days. The pressure bandage and compression stocking can be removed to bathe after 24 hours. You should wear the compression stocking for a few days after the procedure to help speed healing and reduce side effects.
Risks and Side Effects of Sclerotherapy
Patients may experience bruising, swelling, itching, tenderness, and lumps or toughness on or around the treated veins. These symptoms are temporary and should resolve on their own within a few days to a few weeks. There is also a slight risk of DVT (blood clot), allergic reaction, or phlebitis (inflammation of the vein).
Your United Vein Centers doctor will discuss any additional risks that stem from your individual health with you while you’re deciding on a treatment plan and again before your treatment.
Why Choose United Vein Centers for Your Sclerotherapy?
United Vein Centers are IAC-accredited vein treatment centers. At United Vein Centers, we look deeper than damaged veins on the surface. Our goal is to educate our patients about their vein health so they can effectively work with their doctor to decide on the best course of treatment. The board-certified vein specialists at United Vein Centers offer state-of-the-art treatments to address your vein conditions and their underlying cause.
Our doctors take the time to get to know our patients, their history, and their lifestyle in order to provide the best possible outcomes. The satisfaction of thousands of patients serves as proof of our dedication and expertise. If you’re ready to address your vein health issues, schedule a consultation at one of our renowned vein clinics.
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United Vein Centers is dedicated to both patient satisfaction and excellent results. With locations across the United States, we are able to reach a broad spectrum of patients. Our doctors are vein specialists and our staff is thoroughly trained and educated in all aspects of vein health.
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