Sclerotherapy is a popular method of eliminating varicose veins and superficial telangiectasias (“spider veins”) by injecting a solution, called a Sclerosing agent, into the veins.

  • Does sclerotherapy hurt?

    There is a little sting associated with each injection. The burning sensation lasts few seconds. Most individuals tolerate the procedure and do not require any type of anaesthesia.

  • What chemicals are used for sclerotherapy?

    The chemical or sclerosants is either hypertonic saline or sodium tetradecyl sulphate. The chemical irritates the small vein and causes it to undergo fibrosis and eventually disappear.

  • Can sclerotherapy be used to treat large varicose veins?

    Unfortunately, sclerotherapy is generally used for the very small superficial veins next to the skin. Sclerotherapy is not effective for large veins and requires large amounts of the sclerosants with the potential to be absorbed. When large veins are treated with sclerotherapy, a stronger solution and a higher volume is required.

  • How many sclerotherapy treatments are required?

    The number of treatments needed to clear or improve the condition differs from patient to patient, depending on the extent of varicose and spider veins present. One to six or more treatments may be needed; the average is three to four. Individual veins usually require one to three treatments.

  • Is there any preparation required before sclerotherapy?

    1. Discontinue aspirin and so- called blood thinning drugs 1 week prior to your appointment. (consult your prescribing physician)
    2. Do not shave your legs for 2 days prior to your appointment.
    3. Eat a light breakfast or lunch an hour or so prior to your appointment.
  • What should I do after the procedure?

    1. Walk for 30 minutes immediately following the injections.
    2. If possible, do not drive home yourself. If you have to drive, keep the legs moving and make frequent stops for walking (every 20 min).
    3. Maintain normal daytime activities, walk at least an hour a day – the more the better.
    4. No hot baths for 2 weeks.
    5. Avoid standing without moving about. If you must stay in one place, move your feet and toes frequently.
    6. If the legs become painful after the injection, walk.
    7. Do not remove the bandage for 48 hours. Cover them with a plastic bag when showering.
    8. Avoid strenuous physical activity (aerobics) for the first 48 to 72 hours.
  • Is there any harm in removing spider veins?

    No – they have no function. The only reason they are removed for cosmetic reasons.

  • Can anyone undergo sclerotherapy?

    Almost anyone with unwanted spider veins can be treated, except women who are pregnant or nursing. Other relative contraindications include those with skin infections, uncontrolled diabetes, fever, history of deep vein thrombosis, anticoagulant therapy and patients taking corticosteroids.

  • Does Sclerotherapy work for everyone?

    The majority of persons who have sclerotherapy performed will be cleared of their varicosities or at least see good improvement. Unfortunately, however, there is no guarantee that sclerotherapy will be effective in every case. Approximately 10% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy have poor to fair results. (“poor results” mean that the veins have not totally disappeared after six treatments). In very rare instances, the patient`s condition may become worse after sclerotherapy treatments.

  • What happens after sclerotherapy treatment?

    There is some mild pain which can easily be overcome with a pain killer. The injected site will appear bruised and swollen for a few days. The bruising usually disappears in 2-3 weeks. One will have no problem with walking. After the first 2 days, most patients can resume their normal activities.

  • How long is each sclerotherapy session?

    Generally, most individuals have multiple spider veins and only up to 15-20 injections can be done at seating. Each treatment session lasts up to 30 minutes. After the treatment, sterile dressings are placed over the injection site and the entire leg is covered with an ace bandage. The ace bandage is left on for 2-3 weeks until the patient returns to see the doctor.

  • When can the treatment be done?

    Sclerotherapy is an elective procedure and can be done whenever the individual wants to have it done.
    Treatment is done on an outpatient basis during convenient office hours. You can resume most activities shortly after each session.

  • What are side effects of sclerotherapy?

    1. Itching- depending on the type of solution used, you may experience mild itching along the vein route. This itching normally lasts 1 to 2 days.
    2. Transient Hyper-pigmentation- approximately 30% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy notice a discoloration of light brown streaks after the treatment. In almost every patient the veins become darker immediately after the procedure. In rare instances, this darkening of the vein may persist for 4 to 12 months.
    3. Sloughing- sloughing occurs in less than 3% of patients who receive sclerotherapy. Sloughing consists of a small ulceration at the injection site that heals slowly. A blister may form, open and become ulcerated. The scar that follows should return to normal colour.
    4. Allergic reaction- very rarely, a patient may have an allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent used. The risk of an allergic reaction is greater in patients who have a history of allergies.
    5. Pain – a few patients may experience moderate to severe pain and some bruising, usually at the site of the injection. The veins may be tender to the touch after treatment and an uncomfortable sensation may run along the vein route. This pain is usually temporary, in most cases lasting 1 to, at most, 7 days.
  • What are the other side effects?

    Other side effects include a burning sensation during injection of some solution, neovascularization (the development – usually temporary – of new tiny blood vessels), transient phlebitic-type reactions (swelling of the vein might cause the ankles to swell), temporary superficial blebs or wheals (similar to hives), and, very rarely, wound infection, poor healing, or scarring.

  • What if I experience a problem after receiving sclerotherapy?

    If you notice any type of adverse reaction, please call the doctor immediately.