What Exactly is Sclerotherapy Again?
Sclerotherapy is an injection of the chemical sclerosant directly into a varicose vein in order to damage the inside lining of the vein. The subsequent scarring causes the vein to close. The procedure is done in the doctor’s office and takes about thirty minutes, sometimes as little as five, depending on the size and number of the varicose veins to be treated.
After the injection, pressure is applied over the veins in order to prevent the blood from returning once you stand up. Compression stockings are recommended for several days or weeks post-procedure to maintain pressure and maximize effectiveness.
Repeated sessions are sometimes necessary, depending on the extent of the varicose veins.
How Long Will I Take to Recover?
There is no actual recovery period from the procedure itself, and patients can walk out of the office immediately after completion. Every body has its own recovery pace (think about people who are more susceptible to drowsiness-causing medications, or the stories of people who wake up during surgeries), so there is no one answer.
Generally, you want to take it easy for a couple of days following treatment, and do avoid strenuous exercise for the following few days. Bed rest, however, is not recommended.
When is the Best Time to Get Sclerotherapy?
There is no right or wrong time to get sclerotherapy or laser treatment. But there are a few situations you may want to consider:
- Since you also will be wearing compression stockings, decide how affected you are by weather. If you are susceptible to heat and like to wear skirts or shorts that expose the legs, you may schedule treatment for more pants-friendly weather. But this is not a rule, and many patients are not bothered by their end-of-summer sclerotherapy treatments.
- Also, some patients experience initial side effects such as itching, bruising, pain, or blistering in the area of treatment. If this is something that might concern you, I recommend that you wait for the cooler weather so you can keep covered more comfortably.
- Unlike laser treatment, which treats the small red veins called telangiectasias and requires patients to stay out of the sun for two weeks following the procedure, sclerotherapy has no such requirement. However, if you are worried about the temporary appearance of blotches or bruising, you may want to avoid scheduling treatment the week prior to your big beach vacation.
- If you are pregnant, now is not the time for sclerotherapy.
What Are the Benefits of Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy has over an 80% effectiveness rate among patients. Among its many benefits, sclerotherapy costs much less than surgery or EVLT/RFA (endovenous laser therapy or radiofrequency ablation) and requires no hospital stay.
And sclerotherapy is convenient: You can immediately return to work and most of your normal activities.
In a short amount of time, varicose veins can be either greatly reduced or completely neutralized, giving you back your healthy-looking skin.