Sclerotherapy, a non-surgical treatment that involves injecting medication into blood vessels or lymph vessels that causes them to shrink.
Sclerotherapy uses a solution called a sclerosant, which is injected directly into a vein or lymph vessel. The solution irritates the vessel, causing it to swell. This swelling cuts off the flow of blood or lymphatic fluid and the vessel shrinks.
Various forms of sclerotherapy have been around since the 19th century, but techniques have improved in recent decades.
It is commonly used to treat varicose veins or so-called spider veins. It can also be used to treat blood and lymph vessel disorders that cause these vessels to form incorrectly.
Sclerotherapy requires a consultation with a doctor to assess the problematic vein or lymph vessel.
The procedure does not usually require anesthesia. Before the procedure, avoid shaving or applying any lotion to your legs.
During the treatment, the person lies on their back with their legs up. A doctor cleans the area, then inserts a small needle into the vein. The needle may pinch.
The doctor injects the vein with an irritating solution. The individual may feel burning, tingling, or nothing.
When the injection is complete, the doctor will massage the area to prevent blood from re-entering the vein.
The individual may need to wear a pad or compression stockings in the area. In most cases, someone will need follow-up treatment to collapse a vein fully.
If you were treated for small varicose veins or spider veins, you can usually expect to see definitive results in three to six weeks. Larger veins may require three to four months. However, multiple treatments may be needed to achieve the results you want.
Veins that respond to treatment generally don’t come back, but new veins may appear.
Your doctor will likely schedule a follow-up visit about a month after the procedure to check the procedure’s success and decide whether further sessions are needed. Generally, you need to wait about six weeks before undergoing another sclerotherapy session.
Some temporary side effects that may occur at the site of the injection include:
- Raised red areas
- Small skin sores
- Darkened skin in the form of lines or spots
- Multiple tiny red blood vessels