Varicose veins and spider veins can be unsightly and painful. Fortunately, there are minimally invasive vein treatments available that can improve the appearance and function of damaged veins.
If you suffer from varicose or spider veins, you have more options for treatment than you may think. Sclerotherapy has been utilized for decades to provide relief from the pain and appearance of bulging and discolored varicose veins.
Here’s what you should know about sclerotherapy treatment for varicose veins and spider veins.
During the procedure, patients lie on their backs with their legs elevated. The area receiving the treatment will be cleaned with alcohol. The area may also be numbed with Lidocaine to prevent discomfort during the injection.
After the area is clean and numb, the doctor injects a sterilized, diluted saline solution directly into the vein.
In the days and weeks following the procedure, the solution irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to collapse and stick together. This prevents blood from continuing to pool in the vein. Eventually, the vein develops scar tissue and is reabsorbed into other surrounding tissue. The blood that once traveled through the now-collapsed vein is forced to reroute to other blood vessels.
As a minimally invasive procedure, sclerotherapy does not require anesthesia and is typically performed in an outpatient setting. The majority of patients who undergo the procedure report only mild cramping at the injection site during the procedure, especially when larger veins are being treated. This usually lasts only a few minutes.
After the solution is injected, the doctor will wrap, apply compression and massage the treated vein to prevent blood from spilling into surrounding tissues. Patients wear compression stockings for two weeks following sclerotherapy to reduce the risk of blood clots.
After the procedure is over, some patients experience discomfort in the affected vein that subsides quickly as the injection site heals and the vein is reabsorbed into the body.
Common post-sclerotherapy symptoms include bruising, darkened skin around the injection site, small sores around the injection site and general redness in the treated area. These symptoms usually go away just a few days after treatment.
The duration of the procedure depends on the size and number of veins being treated. For small varicose veins, sclerotherapy typically takes only 15 minutes. For larger varicose veins or multiple veins, it may take thirty to forty-five minutes.
Most patients experience no complications and are ready to stand up and walk around as soon as the treatment is over.
It is vital for patients to walk immediately following sclerotherapy to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Studies have shown that sclerotherapy is a safe procedure that carries few risks. The success rate of the procedure is estimated to be 60% to 80%.
The following complications are rare, but possible:
- Blood clots
- Air bubbles
- Allergic reaction
- Capillary dilation
It’s important for patients experiencing any of the above side effects to visit their doctor immediately.
There is no standard recommended recovery time for a sclerotherapy treatment. Most patients are able to return to normal activities on the same day, and are encouraged to walk and move around immediately.
To reduce the likelihood of blood clots, compression stockings should be worn for at least two weeks following the procedure.
The majority of patients see the full results of sclerotherapy within a few weeks after the procedure. Patients with multiple areas of damaged veins may need multiple treatments to experience the best possible improvement in the look and feel of their veins.
Dr. Carson at Georgia Vascular Institute is a board-certified radiologist who specializes in the treatment of Peripheral Arterial Disease and varicose and spider vein therapy.
Dr. Subramanian is a premier provider of sclerotherapy services in Stockbridge, Camp Creek, Forest Park, Georgia.
Contact us today to learn more about our vein treatments or to schedule your appointment.