Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure wherein sclerosant medicine is used to treat spider veins. This procedure involves injecting a sclerosant solution into spider veins to fuse their walls, turning them into hardened scar tissues eventually absorbed by the body. The accumulated blood, meanwhile, reroutes into healthier leg veins to restore optimal blood circulation. Sclerotherapy is the ideal treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins.
How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
Sclerotherapy is widely considered the best minimally invasive treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins. This procedure involves injecting a medicine (called sclerosant) into spider veins. The sclerosant medication chemically damages the spider veins’ walls, making them stick together until they’re eventually absorbed by the body. Meanwhile, the accumulated blood reroutes into healthier leg veins and restores optimal blood circulation to the heart.
During your sclerotherapy treatment, your vein doctor will elevate your legs to inject sclerosant into the visible spider veins and small varicose veins. The sclerosant medicine induces a chemical response upon contacting the blood in your veins, making your spider veins shrink and harden into scar tissues. The accumulated blood reroutes into healthier leg veins with functional vein valves. Meanwhile, the hardened spider veins get reabsorbed by the body until they’re no longer visible on your skin’s surface.
Sclerotherapy is an in-office and outpatient procedure that concludes within 10 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of spider veins and their size. After the procedure, the vein doctor applies pressure on your veins while you stand up to prevent blood from accumulating in your leg veins. Finally, you have to wear compression stockings for a few days to ensure optimal blood circulation.
Is Sclerotherapy Uncomfortable?
Sclerotherapy is an extremely comfortable and painless procedure. During this treatment, you only receive one injection per spider vein. After each injection, you might experience mild burning and cramping sensations as the sclerosant medicine flows in your spider veins. However, this sensation is mild and temporary. You may need to return for more than one session if you have a lot of spider veins.
What are the Side Effects of Sclerotherapy?
The following are the potential side effects of sclerotherapy:
- Common Side Effects: Mild swelling, pain, and discomfort from the injection
- Rare Side Effects: Allergic reactions, hyperpigmentation, and capillary dilation
- Very Rare Side Effects: Skin necrosis, arterial injection, deep vein thrombosis, migraine, infections, and vasovagal reflex
What are the Pros and Cons of Sclerotherapy?
Pros of Sclerotherapy
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services (Office on Women’s Health), sclerotherapy is an extremely convenient in-office procedure that doesn’t involve anesthesia. This non-surgical treatment doesn’t involve an extended preparation or recovery period. Furthermore, the treatment concludes within 15 to 30 minutes with no post-treatment downtime, so you can resume your daily activities and work immediately.
Cons of Sclerotherapy
Although sclerotherapy is the best treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins, it’s not suitable for everyone. This procedure isn’t suitable for large varicose veins because it can only cover small areas. Furthermore, it doesn’t treat chronic venous insufficiency, the root cause of most vein problems, so it’s mostly a cosmetic procedure. If you have vein disease, you may have to combine this treatment with other procedures, such as radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser ablation, and VenaSeal.
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