Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical outpatient procedure designed to diminish the appearance of spider veins and smaller, superficial varicose veins. Whether on the legs, the face, or virtually anywhere on the body, unsightly veins can be removed with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is minimally invasive, only involving a micro-needle for the injection of a solution, causing unwanted veins to fade or disappear.
Appropriate candidates for sclerotherapy are those individuals who have spider or varicose veins and the desire to change their appearance. The ideal candidates are non-smokers who are physically healthy and psychologically stable. Since it is not known whether the sclerosing solution affects breast milk, pregnant women should avoid sclerotherapy. Individuals with a blood-borne disease or condition affecting the vascular system should not have sclerotherapy. Laser vein removal or vein removal surgery may be more appropriate depending on the severity of your vein condition and other factors affecting your health.
The Sclerotherapy Procedure
Sclerotherapy entails the injection of a solution introduced directly into the targeted veins. In preparation for treatment, the patient stands while the relevant veins are marked. Using a micro-needle, the sclerosing solution is injected into the vein and causes the vein to harden and fade over time. One injection will treat about an inch of surface skin and a single procedure may involve numerous injections, depending on the size of the area being treated. As there is little to no pain experienced by patients, anesthesia is rarely required. Generally, treatment time is 30 minutes to an hour. Two or more sclerotherapy treatments are usually required to achieve optimal results.
Following sclerotherapy treatment, compression bandages are often applied to increase pressure and swelling of the veins. Bandages can generally be removed within a day or two, although support hose may be required for up to two weeks. Swelling and bruising are typical postoperative conditions. Moderate exercise is recommended in order to increase blood circulation. If sclerotherapy was done on the leg, elevation of the leg may also be recommended. Although rare, complications of sclerotherapy include blood clotting, skin inflammation, allergic reactions, and changes in skin pigmentation.
Sclerotherapy Side Effects
Patients that undergo sclerotherapy may experience some side effects at the injection site, including:
These side effects should go away within a couple days of treatment.
Sclerotherapy is designed to improve the appearance of unsightly veins. After each sclerotherapy session, the veins will appear lighter. However, because there is typically some minor bruising, results may not be visible for up to two weeks. Sclerotherapy does not prevent new veins from forming at the surface of the skin, so it should not be considered a permanent solution for spider and varicose veins. Most patients are satisfied with the results of sclerotherapy and enjoy the improved appearance of their skin.
Interested in Sclerotherapy? Find a Specialist in Your Area
If you would like to learn more about sclerotherapy, we recommend speaking to a cosmetic dermatologist. You can find a qualified cosmetic dermatologist in your area on the DocShop network.