Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive medical procedure used to treat spider veins, most commonly found on the legs, by collapsing them through the use of a solvent. Sclerotherapy has been used on patients since the 1930s with great success, producing increasingly effective medical, as well as cosmetic, results.
Reasons for Sclerotherapy
Individuals troubled by spider veins, either because they find them unattractive or because they experience uncomfortable symptoms such as aching, burning, swelling and cramping, may choose, in consultation with Dr. Evans, to undergo sclerotherapy.
During sclerotherapy, a solution of saline and a sclerosant is injected into the damaged veins. This causes irritation in the affected veins and as a result they eventually collapse. When the weakened veins collapse, they are reabsorbed into the body and other healthier veins take place in the circulatory system.
Sclerotherapy has proven to be a safe procedure and is performed outpatient in the doctor's office. Typically, sclerotherapy is performed in less than an hour, although a varying number of injections may be required, depending on the number of veins involved. Patients do not require an anesthetic and usually report little or no discomfort during the procedure, though some patients report experiencing a very mild burning sensation. In some instances, several sclerotherapy treatments may be necessary.
Risks of Sclerotherapy
Although sclerotherapy is a safe procedure that has been successfully performed for many years, there are certain risks associated with any medical procedure. Certain minimal, temporary side effects are to be expected, including bruising and discoloration. More serious complications are rare.
Recovery from Sclerotherapy
Patients are able to return home shortly after sclerotherapy. Most can return to work and resume normal activities the next day, although exercise and strenuous activities are to be avoided a week or two. Compression bandages usually need to be worn for a week or so after the procedure. While it may take up to a month for the patient to see full results, some improvement is usually visible immediately.
In order to promote vascular health and to preserve the positive effects of the sclerotherapy, it is recommended that patients maintain a healthy weight and make exercise part of their daily routine.