Sclerotherapy is a cosmetic medical procedure used to treat varicose veins and spider veins. A tiny needle is used to inject a solution directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot. Overtime, the body will absorb the treated vein. Mild discomfort may occur, and a cramping sensation may be felt for 1 to 2 minutes when larger veins are injected. The number of veins injected in one session is variable, depending on the size and location of the veins, and the patient's overall medical condition. Anywhere from one to several sclerotherapy sessions may be needed for any vein region. Medically prescribed support hose and/or bandages may need to be worn for several days to several weeks to assist in resolution of the veins. In general, spider veins respond to treatment in 3 to 6 weeks, and larger veins respond in 3 to 4 months.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment for the removal of spider veins and smaller varicose veins. Veins are injected with a sterile chemical solution, which irritates the vessel's lining, making it become inflamed, harden, and eventually fade away completely. Blood circulation is carried out through healthy veins located deeper within the body, so the outward appearance and sometimes pain associated with the problem veins is significantly reduced.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins, or telangiectasias, are tiny veins that constantly look dilated. Caused by weak vascular walls and inefficient circulation, spider veins cause no health problems but many people feel they look unappealing. Spider veins can sometimes resemble a spider: a large dark spot with thin veins radiating out of it, or they may appear in other patterns and variations in different places in the body. Frequently occurring in the legs, spider veins can be dark or lighter shades of blue, purple, or red.
How is the procedure performed?
The treatment area will be prepped; the vein specialist will begin injecting the solution into first the larger veins, then smaller ones, monitoring the progress of the chemical throughout the process. For every inch of vein treated, one injection will likely be administered. Since the injection needle is so small, patients often feel little pain and do not need any anesthesia. The injection process typically is complete in just 15 to 30 minutes. A minor stinging or burning sensation is common during and right after the injections are made, but is short lived. After the treatment is finished, a bandage will be applied and most physicians recommend the use of compression or support hose for at least a few days.
What happens after sclerotherapy treatment?
Any discomfort can be easily managed with over the counter pain medications, and is alleviated by the use of compression bandages or hose. Some mild bruising, itching, and swelling at the injection site is normal, but otherwise side effects are uncommon and short in duration.
What are side effects of sclerotherapy?
Because the procedure is minimally-invasive, very few side effects are associated with it. Some minor itching and burning immediately after the treatment is normal and quickly fades. In rare cases, allergic reactions, infection at the injection site, or complications associated with poor injection technique are possible. The potential for side effects can be reduced by choosing an experienced, reputable specialist to administer the procedure.
Where is the procedure done?
Since sclerotherapy is minimally-invasive and almost pain-free, it can be performed at a doctor's office. Anesthesia is not needed and complications are infrequent. Although sclerotherapy is very safe, it is considered to be so only when administered by a professional.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS)
A safe and highly effective procedure that eliminates diseased veins that have traditionally required surgical removal.
Sclerotherapy is effective with spider veins and small varicose veins that remain after surgery. Neither surgery nor sclerotherapy can prevent new varicose veins from developing as a result of the natural progression of this chronic condition. However, UGS offers a less traumatic, less costly alternative to gain and maintain control. Your specialist has undergone specialized training required in order to treat the saphenous axis by sclerotherapy.
Duplex ultrasound is the key to the success of this procedure. First, it locates the diseased "saphenous" vein(s) hidden from view that cause the bulging on the surface. Next, UGS guides both the placement of and the number of injections required according to each individual patient. Follow-up US examinations will confirm success, and guide additional treatment if necessary.
The success of both surgery and sclerotherapy depend on accurate control of all reflux (backward flow) points. With recent advances, both methods now share a similarly high success rate when performed by experienced practitioners who were able to accurately target veins using UGS.
Unfortunately, venous insufficiency disease is not curable. Like many other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes or hypertension, it requires ongoing care and surveillance after the initial course of treatment gains control. Treatment in the earlier stages helps avert unpleasant complications (leg ulcers, dermatitis, phlebitis, blood clots), and relieve bothersome symptoms.
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Lone Star Heart & Vascular
425 Holderrieth Blvd.
Tomball, TX 77375
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