Sclerotherapy

A single blood vessel may have to be injected more than once, weeks or months apart, depending on its size. A number of vessels can be injected during any one-treatment session.

The injection solutions available are slightly different, and the decision of which to use depends on several factors including the size of the vessel. Your dermatologist will choose a solution that is best for your particular case.

Occasionally, larger varicose veins are connected to these vessels. In such cases, these vessels should be treated along with spider veins. This can be done by sclerotherapy under ultrasound guidance, or by using the latest techniques including endovenous lasers, stripping, ligation, or radiofrequency.

How successful is sclerotherapy?

After several treatments, most patients can expect an 80-90% improvement. Fading will gradually occur over months. Disappearance of treated spider veins is usually achieved, but reappearance of new veins can be expected over time.

Can anyone have sclerotherapy?

Those who are pregnant or breast-feeding should not undergo sclerotherapy.

Patients with a personal or family history of blood clots in the lungs or legs should have the procedure done with extra precautions to lessen the risk of blood clots.

People with a history of migraines undergoing the procedure may experience headaches.

What do I do after treatments?

Patients are usually instructed to wear a compression stocking after the procedure, ranging from a few days to two weeks depending on the vessels being treated. They need to be ambulatory following the procedure, and light exercise is not only possible but also desirable. This may help seal the treated vessels, keep the blood from collecting under the skin and reduce the development of dark spots. It also may reduce the number of treatments necessary, and the chances of a recurrence.

Are there any side effects?

There are a number of possible side effects, which include:

  • Allergic reactions to sclerosing solutions.
  • Stinging or pain at the sites of injection; swelling of the ankles or feet; muscle cramps.
  • Red, raised areas at the sites of injection, which may last a couple of days.
  • Temporary bruises.
  • Brown lines or spots on the skin at the sites of treated blood vessels, which may take months to disappear.
  • The development of groups of fine red blood vessels near the sites of injection of larger vessels, especially on the thighs. Most disappear by themselves, some need additional injection treatments or laser therapy; a few may last.
  • Small, painful ulcers at treatment sites either immediately or within a few weeks of injection. These may take a couple of weeks to heal, eventually leaving behind small scars.
  • Lumps in injected vessels. This is due to the blood coagulating and is not dangerous. Your dermatologist may drain the blood from these areas a few weeks after injection.