Sclerotherapy uses an injection of a special chemical (sclerosant) into avaricose vein to damage and scar the inside lining of the vein. This causes the vein to close.
During this procedure, the affected leg is elevated to drain blood, and the sclerosant is injected into the varicose vein. The procedure is done in a doctor's office or clinic and takes 5 to 30 minutes, depending on how many varicose veins are treated and how big they are.
After the injection of sclerosant is given, pressure is applied over the veins to prevent blood return when you stand up. You may need to wearcompression stockings for several days or weeks to maintain the pressure.
The sclerotherapy injection may be painful, and the chemical (sclerosant) that is injected can cause a feeling of burning or cramping for a few minutes in the area where the shot was given. You may need repeated sessions and many injections each session, depending on the extent of the varicose veins and type of sclerosant used.
A newer, minimally invasive technique allows your doctor to inject sclerosant with a catheter. The catheter and sclerosant are guided to the affected vein with the help of duplex ultrasound. This process allows sclerotherapy treatment to be used on larger varicose veins that previously could only be treated surgically with ligation and stripping, in which larger varicose veins are tied off and removed.
What To Expect After Treatment
Sclerotherapy generally does not require any recovery period. You will likely be able to walk immediately after the treatment, but you should take it easy for a day or two. Bed rest is not recommended, but you may need to avoid strenuous exercise for a few days after sclerotherapy. Avoid exposing your legs to the sun for the first 2 weeks after the procedure.
Why It Is Done
Sclerotherapy is used to treat:
- Spider veins and small veins that are not causing more serious problems.
- Smaller varicose veins that come back after vein-stripping surgery.
- Larger varicose veins, when minimally invasive techniques are used.
Sclerotherapy may be done alone or as a follow-up to surgery.