In this guide you will learn:
- What is sclerotherapy?
- What happens in sclerotherapy for varicose veins?
- How to prepare for sclerotherapy for varicose veins?
- Effectiveness and risks of sclerotherapy for varicose veins
- What to expect after sclerotherapy?
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is one of the reliable medical procedures to eliminate varicose veins where a solution is injected into the damaged veins. This causes the blocked veins to collapse and guides the blood to flow through a healthier vein. The collapsed vein eventually gets reabsorbed in the tissue and fades away.
What happens in sclerotherapy for varicose veins?
In sclerotherapy, a saline solution is injected into the damaged veins. It is a daycare procedure and is performed in the doctor’s clinic. The treatment does not require anesthesia and takes only 15-20 minutes to complete.
During the procedure, the patient is asked to lie on their back and then elevate their legs. The area that needs the treatment is then cleaned and then using a needle, the doctor inserts a solution or foam into the vein. The procedure is not painful but patients may experience minor cramps, stinging, and a sensation of discomfort. The injected solution then irritates the vein making it swell and shut and eventually allows the blood to flow in a different direction.
Once the solution is injected, the doctor will withdraw the needle and massage the area gently to keep blood flow out of the injected vein. The doctor may also tap a compression pad on the surgical site. The number of injections that need to be injected depends upon the number and size of the varicose veins that need to be treated.
How to prepare for sclerotherapy for varicose veins?
Sclerotherapy is generally conducted by a trained and experienced vascular surgeon. The doctor will conduct a physical examination based on the patient’s prior medical history. During the consultation, the patient can discuss all the possible risks, complications, and outcome of the treatment with the doctor. The doctor will check if there is any underlying blood vessel disorder in the patient before conducting the treatment.
Sclerotherapy needs no special preparation but there are a few important things that need to be kept in mind before the treatment. If you are pregnant, you may be advised to wait for the treatment until your delivery. The treatment might not give expected results if:
– You have the habit of smoking or taking oral contraceptives. This can increase your risk of getting blood clots.
– You have medical conditions such as coagulation disorder or heart disease.
– You have any allergies.
Effectiveness and risks of sclerotherapy for varicose veins
Sclerotherapy is considered to be an effective treatment only for treating small varicose veins. Vascular surgeons suggest surgery as the best and the most effective treatment for larger varicose veins.
– The process is minimally invasive and leaves no pain or scars on the skin.
– The treatment is highly effective in treating symptoms like swelling, cramps, itching, and burning on the skin of the legs.
– The recovery is very quick; the treated veins take just 2-3 weeks to fade away.
However, there are a few downsides of the treatment too. In several cases, the patient may require several sessions of sclerotherapy to get a vein treated. Along with this, other common risks that can be seen are:
– Small skin sores
– Darkened skin and spots on the skin
– If the saline solution is injected into the larger veins, the veins may become hard and lumpy and it may take several months for the veins to fade.
– Brown lines and spots may appear on the surgical site. There is no guarantee how soon they might disappear; in some cases, they may disappear within three to four months while in other cases, they may last for a much longer period.
Should any of these side effects occur, contact your doctor without delay.
- Inflammation within five inches of the groin
- Sudden swelling on the leg
- Formation of small ulcers at the surgical site
What to expect after sclerotherapy?
After the treatment, the doctor will check the area for any immediate side effects. The doctor will ask you to wear a compression stocking and see if you can stand or walk properly. The compression stocking needs to be worn for two to three weeks to maintain proper pressure on the veins. There are no dietary habits that need to be followed in the case of sclerotherapy. But the patient needs to refrain from running, walking on stairs, and doing vigorous exercises for the next few weeks. After the pressure comes to normal, the patient can return to his or her normal life.