Sclerotherapy to treat spider veins is a simple procedure which can be performed without anesthesia. It can take as little as 15 minutes, or up to one hour depending on how many veins are being treated in a session.
Will I get good results with Sclerotherapy?
It may take more than one sclerotherapy session to make problem veins disappear completely. If several sessions are indicated, veins are given a minimum of 2-3 weeks to completely heal before another treatment.
Although treated veins fade permanently after sclerotherapy treatment, many patients will continue to develop vein problems, and new varicose veins and spider veins may develop which may require additional treatments.
What are the side effects of Sclerotherapy?
You can expect some mild bruising and redness at the injection site. This is the normal result of the sclerotherapy solution irritating the vein walls. Bruising should fade within 2-3 weeks of treatment. You may also develop darker coloring around the injection site. Good skin care and wearing compression garments should resolve these issues quickly in most patients.
Less commonly, some people experience serious side effects such as severe inflammation, blood clots, or an allergic reaction to the injected agents. Although these reactions are rare, contact the doctor immediately if you experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, or chest pain.
How do I know if this treatment is right for me?
Many patients are bothered by the look of three types of an enlarged vein: varicose veins, reticular veins, and spider veins. Sclerotherapy remains one of the most successful and often chosen treatments for small to medium varicose veins.
When should Sclerotherapy be avoided?
If you are pregnant, over 75 years old or extremely sedentary, sclerotherapy is not the appropriate treatment. Also, treatment should be avoided if:
- your venous circulation is compromised, such as in the case of peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
- you have clotting problems or are at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or superficial vein thrombosis
- you have recently experienced vein infection (such as acute phlebitis), or have a fever or acute illness
Sclerotherapy is only performed on small to medium sized spider veins, and not on veins connected to major veins, or veins in which reflux is likely to occur.
We often recommend that their patients stop taking anti-inflammatory drugs (i.e. aspirin or Motrin) one week before treatment. We also typically wait until patients are off blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants such as warfarin) before performing sclerotherapy. Do not stop taking your medications without discussing with your doctor.