Sclerotherapy is the most commonly used treatment for treating spider veins on the legs as an adjunct to ablation of truncal veins in Varicose veins surgery. Sclerotherapy entails injecting a chemical solution into the varicose or spider vein. The sclerosing solution causes the vein walls to swell, stick together, and seal shut, effectively stopping blood flow. As a result, the vein fades in a matter of weeks.
Varicose veins are tortuous, swollen and enlarged veins that protrude from the skin's surface. These bluish-purple veins are most commonly found on the legs and feet, but they can also appear on the arms and face. Your veins become weaker as your age increases. As the valves in your veins weaken, blood pools instead of returning to your heart. Varicose veins, which are swollen and painful, do not go away on their own. Varicose veins can be painless or extremely uncomfortable. They also alter the appearance of your legs, which may make you feel self-conscious.
Female sex, a family history of vein disorders, or being obese and sedentary are all risk factors for varicose veins. Smoking, pregnancy, hormone therapy, and a history of DVT (blood clots) are also other risk factors for varicose veins. It has also been observed that individuals who work in jobs that require them to sit or stand for long periods of time have a higher risk of developing varicose veins at a much younger age.
Varicose veins may not produce any symptoms, but for most people, varicose veins are accompanied by pain, severe swelling and skin discoloration in the affected area. Patients also complain of itching and a throbbing sensation, as well as a sense of heaviness and ulcer at a later stage if neglected.
Before the procedure
- The doctor will take your medical history, past history and family history during the initial consultation for vein treatment to determine whether vein sclerotherapy is appropriate for you.
- You should not shave your legs 24 hours before your sclerotherapy appointment.
- Plan to wear loose-fitting clothes, a skirt, or shorts to the appointment.
- Inform your doctor about all the medications which you are using, including herbal supplements and also inform any allergies, particularly those to local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or contrast materials.
- Before the procedure, your doctor may advise you to discontinue taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or blood thinners.
- You may also be asked to stop taking iron supplements.
- Inform your doctor about recent illnesses or other medical conditions.
- No lotion should be applied on the legs before the sclerotherapy procedure.
- Make plans to have someone to drive you home after your procedure is done.
During the procedure
- In preparation for sclerotherapy, your Vascular surgeon cleans and disinfects the area to be injected. Although anesthesia is not required, the cleaning solution may contain an analgesic to alleviate discomfort. The sclerotherapy solution is slowly injected into the affected vein by the doctor.
- Your doctor will massage the treated vein and surrounding area after the injection to distribute the sclerotherapy solution. If you have multiple veins to be treated, they may proceed to the next vein. Sclerotherapy alone for varicose veins usually takes less than an hour.
After the procedure
Once your sclerotherapy is complete, you can get up and move around. This encourages circulation and helps prevent blood clots. Although you can resume most of your usual activity after completing vein sclerotherapy, you should have someone else drive you home. Additional instructions may include:
- Wear compression bandages for up to six weeks.
- Avoid sun exposure on the treated areas to help prevent formation of dark spots on your skin.
- Avoid strenuous exercise for a short period.
A follow-up visit is scheduled, usually about a month later. Your doctor wants to check to make sure the procedure worked as expected.
Benefits and Risks of Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy injections for varicose veins cause the affected vein to essentially disappear. The sclerosing solution irritates the vein lining, causing it to swell and block blood flow. The vein then forms scar tissue, which permanently seals it off. The vein is eventually absorbed into your body.
Sclerotherapy injections for varicose veins can typically be done as an outpatient procedure. Vein sclerotherapy can:
- Eliminate the pain, itching and swelling due to varicose veins
- Reduce the risk of night cramps in the legs
- Improve the appearance of the legs
Following vein sclerotherapy, your blood is rerouted to healthier veins nearby and you feel much better.
Sclerotherapy is a painless procedure that is relatively safe. However, as with any other procedure, there are potential risks and side effects. Possible side effects immediately following sclerotherapy for varicose veins include:
- Areas of red, raised skin
- Small sores
- Dark spots or lines on the skin
- Tiny red blood vessels visible near the treatment site
Sclerotherapy Care at Medicover
Medicover Hospital has the top notch vascular surgeons who diagnose and treat varicose veins by offering a range of world class technologies, therapies, and procedures with expertise, safety and precision. Medicover Hospital has in-house vascular interventionalists to perform many minor to complex surgeries with successful outcomes. The experienced team of doctors ensure you receive a personalized treatment plan to your condition.