The reason why you need to treat varicose veins is to fade them. This is done by simply closing them off and redirecting the blood flow through them to other veins. Several types of procedures can do this. Let’s talk about them a little:
- Laser surgery for varicose veins: No pain, no cuts surgery. The procedure involves destroying the vein with high-intensity laser light to close it off. Laser treatment is also a very common procedure to treat varicose veins.
- Endovenous ablation therapy: In this, the doctor first numbs the area around the vein. After numbing, a thin tube is inserted inside it through a small cut in your skin. The tube bears a device that uses a laser or radio waves to create heat that closes the vein.
- Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is often the treatment of choice for small varicose veins.
A patient was looking for a “go-to treatment” for varicose veins. The vascular surgeon at Pristyn Care suggested sclerotherapy for the following reasons:
- The treatment is very quick
- No downtime
- Side effects, including scarring and swelling, are usually minor and temporary
- It can treat large varicose veins
- It’s safe for all skin types
Let us discuss more sclerotherapy
If you are ashamed of wearing shorts at the gym or your swimsuit because of those small varicose veins, sclerotherapy is the treatment for you. Sclerotherapy is the procedure to cure veins disorder.
What causes varicose veins?
Women may suffer from varicose veins more often than men. Changes in estrogen levels during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding or menopause in a woman’s blood may have a role in the development of varicose veins. Other reasons may include:
- Prolonged standing or sitting
- Sedentary lifestyle – for example, being confined to bed
- Lack of exercise
What is sclerotherapy for varicose veins?
If home remedies like wearing compression stockings, don’t get your varicose veins pain under control, your vein specialist may recommend sclerotherapy treatment.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure to treat varicose veins in legs. In this procedure, a solution called sclerosing solution, is injected into the affected veins. This causes the affected veins to shrink and eventually disappear. It is considered as a treatment of choice.
The procedure can also improve related symptoms like:
- Night cramps
After the treatment, veins tend to fade within a few weeks, although occasionally it may take about a month to notice the complete result. Some varicose veins patients need several sclerotherapy treatments.
The procedure typically takes place in the clinic itself. It does not require anesthesia and usually takes 15 minutes to an hour to complete.
The doctor asks the patient to lie on their back with their legs slightly elevated. He cleanses the area with alcohol and then the doctor uses a fine needle to slowly insert a solution or foam into the vein.
When the needle gets inside, the patient may experience minor stinging or cramps. The injection solution irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to swell shut and block the flow of blood.
Once the doctor pulls out the needle, he will apply compression and massage the area to keep blood out of the injected vessel and disperse the solution. A compression pad may be taped onto the site to keep the area compressed while your doctor moves on to the next vein. The number of injections in sclerotherapy depends on the number and size of the affected veins to be treated.
How to prepare for sclerotherapy?
Before the procedure, the doctor looks at the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. The patient must ask the doctor about the expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. The doctor examines the affected veins and check for any underlying blood vessel disorders. Make sure you inform your doctor:
- If you are pregnant. Most doctors do not recommend sclerotherapy during pregnancy.
- For any medical conditions, such as heart disease, pre-existing cancer or coagulation disorder.
- About any prescription, supplements or over-the-counter medicine you are taking.
- If you smoke or take oral contraceptives, which may increase your risk of blood clots.
- If you have any allergies.
Is there any side-effect of sclerotherapy?
The side effects of sclerotherapy are minimal and includes:
- Temporary swelling around the injected vein
- Pain from the injection
- Air bubbles which are temporary and go away on their own
But if you notice any discomfort, talk to your doctor to confirm if everything is right.
Notably, sclerotherapy appears to be a good vein treatment for many people with varicose veins. If you’re dealing with them, at least, talk to your doctor about your options, especially if you’ve already tried conservative methods.
Are varicose veins suitable for injection sclerotherapy?
Varicose veins where there are single veins in the leg or involving the long saphenous vein or short saphenous vein are suitable for this form of treatment (most varicose veins).
If you have extensive and very large varicose veins, then laser surgery is a better option.
What to expect after the procedure?
After sclerotherapy, the patient is able to get up and walk. The doctor suggests walking and moving your legs to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Most of the patients return to a normal routine the same day but doctors suggest to refrain from strenuous exercise for at least two weeks till the doctor suggests. You must avoid exposure to sunlight as it may give dark spots on the treated area.
The doctor may even ask you to wear compression stockings or bandages for about a weeks to maintain compression on the treated veins.
Sclerotherapy can treat small or medium varicose veins and you may notice results in 4-5 weeks. In case of large varicose veins, the procedure may take time or you may have to opt for a combination of treatments to cure varicose veins. Laser surgery can be your other treatment option which may work best. Consult a doctor at Pristyn Care for the right treatment.