Vein Treatment (Sclerotherapy)
Sclerotherapy is a technique that uses a small needle to instill a specific solution
(sclerosing agent) into varicose or spider veins in order to eliminate them creating
a more desirable appearance. The solution irritates and destroys the inner lining
of the blood vessel ceasing blood flow without damaging the surrounding tissues.
is estimated that almost of all adult women have spider veins,
which are red, blue or purple thread-like lines just under the
skin. The condition is associated with increased pressure to
the veins. Other contributing factors include injuries, medications
that affect hormones, and a family history of spider veins. Although
it is less common, men can develop spider veins as well. The
condition usually appears after age 30, although it can sometimes
develop as early as the teen years.
unsightliness is the most common reason for removal, spider veins
may also be removed to alleviate problems with restless legs,
aching, burning, and/or cramps. Although treatment does not prevent
the development of new spider veins, the removal of existing
veins can dramatically improve the appearance of the affected
area, providing a more youthful, healthy look and an even color
pattern to the skin.
is sclerotherapy performed?
doctor will apply antiseptic to the area, then inject a solution
into the affected veins with a very fine needle. Each injection
covers about one inch of the vein. During the procedure, you
may feel a slight pinch as the needle is inserted and a burning
sensation as the solution is injected. Next, cotton dressing
and compression tape will be applied to the area. After one area
is injected and taped, the doctor will proceed to the next area.
a second treatment will be required in order to complete the
collapse of the vein. If you have many veins requiring treatment,
multiple sessions may be required.
long does sclerotherapy take?
normally takes fifteen minutes to one hour, depending on the
number and length of the spider veins. A series of treatments
at bi-weekly or monthly intervals may be required.
type of anesthesia is used?
is not necessary.
is the procedure performed?
procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, in the surgeon's
office-based surgical suite or an outpatient surgical facility.
can I return home and resume normal activities?
should avoid activities that put pressure on the treated area
(such as heavy lifting or jogging) for a few days. Your surgeon
will give you further information regarding activity specific
to your case.
do I prepare for the sclerotherapy procedure?
your initial consultation, your surgeon will discuss the changes
that you would like to make to your appearance. Since the appearance
of your skin is a matter of personal perception and preference,
you will need to discuss your concerns in detail so your surgeon
can determine the appropriate alternatives. Please note that
on the day of your treatment you will be asked to avoid using
moisturizers, sun block or oil on the area to be treated. You
should arrive dressed in comfortable clothing that exposes the
area to be treated on the day of the procedure.
to your treatment, the surgeon will perform a complete health
history and physical. Knowledge of your allergies, medications
and previous surgeries should be brought to your surgeon's attention
at this time. It is also important to relay information regarding
any discomfort you may be having, such as pain, itching or swelling.
These symptoms may indicate more serious circulatory problem.
If your surgeon assesses the potential for a more serious condition,
you may be referred to a specialist for further evaluation. Any
underlying condition should be treated before sclerotherapy treatment
is begun.Specific instructions to assist you in preparing for
this procedure will be given to you after the health history
and physical is complete. Your surgeon may recommend that you
avoid aspirin and alcohol, as well as herbal and anti-inflammatory
medications, for two weeks prior to your treatment in order to
minimize bleeding during the procedure. Your experience will
be much smoother if you remain compliant with your surgeon's
precautions are necessary during recovery?
the compression wrap is removed, you will notice bruising and
discoloration. This will gradually fade over a period of several
are the possible complications after sclerotherapy?
matting," a new network of veins, appears around the treated
area. If this occurs, these veins can also be treated with sclerotherapy.
Discoloration and blotchiness is a more common side effect, but
this usually fades over a period of time. Avoiding direct sunlight
can minimize this. More rarely, sclerotherapy can lead to blood
clots or inflammation in the veins. Allergic reactions to sclerosing
agents have also been reported. Bruising is not uncommon and
often will fade within a few days or, rarely, within a few weeks.
In order to minimize these risks, it is important that you follow
all of your surgeon's instructions, both before and after surgery.
you have recently been pregnant, ask your surgeon about delaying
the procedure, since spider veins caused primarily by pregnancy
often resolve on their own.
may experience temporary itching or cramping at the injection
site. You will be asked to wear a compression wrap for several
days. During this time you must keep the area dry. Your doctor
may prescribe support hose to be worn for several weeks. This
helps to keep the treated vein collapsed. It also reduces the
likelihood of blood clots.
procedure is without risks; however, the majority of complications
known to be associated with sclerotherapy are minor when the
procedure is performed by an experienced board certified plastic
surgeon. It is always important to be informed about the possible
complications before any procedure. Be sure to discuss any concerns
you may have with your surgeon.
results can I expect after sclerotherapy?
patients report a high degree of satisfaction with the procedure
and relief at no longer having to hide unsightly veins. The treated
areas are noticeably clearer and in most cases the skin continues
to improve with each successive treatment.