Sclerotherapy is a form of treatment where a provider injects medicine into blood vessels or lymph vessels that causes them to shrink. It is commonly used to treat varicose veins or so-called spider veins.
The procedure is non-surgical, requiring only an injection. It can also be used to treat blood and lymph vessel disorders that cause these vessels to form incorrectly.
Sclerotherapy uses an irritating solution called a sclerosant, which is injected directly into a vein or lymph vessel. The solution irritates the vessel, causing it to swell. This swelling cuts off the flow of blood or lymphatic fluid and the vessel shrinks.
When to consider Sclerotherapy
Not everyone who has spider veins or another condition that can be treated with sclerotherapy needs to have the procedure. People should discuss their symptoms and treatment options with their provider to decide if it is necessary.
People with spider veins should consider sclerotherapy when:
- the veins are painful
- the legs are sore or feel heavy
- the skin on the legs or feet is patchy or dry
- there is a rash near the veins
What to expect from Sclerotherapy?
- Sclerotherapy requires a consultation with one of our providers to assess the problematic vein or lymph vessel.
- During the treatment, the person lies on their back with their legs up. The provider cleans the area, then inserts a small needle into the vein. The needle may pinch.
- The provider injects the vein with an irritating solution. The individual may feel burning, tingling, or nothing at all.
- When the injection is complete, the provider will massage the area to prevent blood from re-entering the vein. The individual may need to wear a pad or compression stockings in the area.
- In most cases, someone will need follow-up treatment to collapse a vein fully. If there are several varicose veins, numerous treatments may be the only way to get rid of them.
- After the treatment, people should remain active to prevent blood clots from forming. Most will also need to avoid sunlight, which can cause dark spots on the treated area.
Some people experience tenderness or bruising at the site of the injection, but recovery is otherwise relatively easy.