Vein Treatments of Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure is used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution (generally a salt solution) directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse and stick together and the blood to clot.  With time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.

Sclerotherapy is a proven procedure that has been in use since the 1930s.

Candidates for Sclerotherapy

Prior to sclerotherapy, you will have an initial consultation with Dr. Fustok and he will decide if you're a good candidate for the procedure.

If you are pregnant, you will not be eligible to have the procedure.  If you have had a blood clot in the past, your eligibility will be decided on an individual basis, and will depend on the overall health of the area needing treatment as well as the reason for the clot.

How Sclerotherapy Is Done

In sclerotherapy, the salt solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. You may experience mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes, especially when larger veins are injected. The procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

The number of veins injected in one session depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as the general medical condition of the patient.

Sclerotherapy is performed in the office by Dr. Fustok and requires that you do not do any aerobic activity for a few days after the procedure.

What to Do Before Sclerotherapy

Prior to sclerotherapy, you should avoid certain medications. You will need to list all medicines (including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and dietary supplements) you are taking. No lotion should be applied to the legs before the procedure.

Dr. Fustok recommends avoiding aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin,) or other anti-inflammatory drugs for 48-72 hours before sclerotherapy. Tylenol, however, should not affect this procedure.

Side Effects of Sclerotherapy

Some patients may experience certain side effects after sclerotherapy. Milder sides effects, include such as itching, which can last for one or two days after the procedure. Also, you may experience raised, red areas at the injection site. These should disappear within a few days. Bruising may also occur around the injection site and can last several days or weeks.

Other Sclerotherapy Side Effects Include:

  • Larger veins that have been injected may become hard and lumpy lumpy and may require several months to fade and dissolve.
  • Brown spots or lines may appear at the vein site. In most cases, they disappear within three to six months, but they may also last indefinitely.
  • Neovascularization -- the development of new, tiny blood vessels -- may occur at the site of sclerotherapy treatment. These tiny veins can appear days or weeks after the procedure, but should fade within three to twelve months without further treatment.

Should any of the following side effects occur, contact the doctor immediately. These include:

  • Inflammation within five inches of the groin
  • A sudden onset of a swollen leg
  • Formation of small ulcers at the injection site

Allergic reactions to the fluid that is injected may occur at the time of the injection and are rarely serious. If you have a history of allergies, you may have a greater chance of experiencing an allergic reaction to the agents. A minor allergic reaction will cause itching and swelling. To avoid any serious complications, Dr. Fustok can test a small area before applying the solutions to a larger area.

What Happens After Sclerotherapy

After sclerotherapy treatment you will be able to drive yourself home and resume your regular daily activities. Walking is encouraged.

You will be instructed to wear support (compression) hosiery to "compress" the treated vessels. Department store support stockings will not be adequate if a heavy compression stocking is needed. We can recommend where to purchase heavy compression stockings.

Following the injections, avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed.

You should avoid the following for 48 hours after treatment:

  • Hot baths
  • Hot compresses
  • Whirlpools or saunas
  • Direct exposure to sunlight
  • Showers are permitted, but the water should be cooler than usual. The injection sites may be washed with a mild soap and tepid water.

Sclerotherapy Effectiveness

  • 50%-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy. Less than 10% of the people who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all. In these instances, different solutions can be tried. Although this procedure works for most patients, there are no guarantees for success.
  • Spider veins respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins respond in three to four months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before. If needed, you may return for more injections.