What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat surface varicose veins and spider veins. Larger, deeper veins may also be treated. A tiny needle is used to inject a solution directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell shut and stick together. Some blood may re-enter the vein and clot. Over time, the body will absorb the treated vein and old blood.
Treating Veins Using Sclerotherapy
Many chemicals have been tried for centuries to treat veins. Today there are a number of safe and effective agents in use. Saline has fallen out of use in favor of other agents. At Advanced Vein Care, we use the detergent-like solutions Sotradecol and Polidocanol. Both have been in use for decades and are FDA approved. We mix them in various concentrations depending on the size of the vein.
Visual sclerotherapy describes treatment of veins that are near the surface. Deeper veins can be treated using ultrasound to guide the needle into the vein. The various solutions can also be prepared and made more powerful by mixing them into a foam solution, called foam sclerotherapy.
What to Expect During Sclerotherapy Treatment
Mild discomfort may occur during the procedure, and a cramping sensation may be felt for 1 to 2 minutes when larger veins are injected. The number of veins injected in one session varies, depending on the size and location of the veins and the patient’s overall medical condition. Anywhere from one to several sclerotherapy sessions may be needed for any vein region. Medically prescribed compression stockings and/or bandages may need to be worn for several days to several weeks to assist in resolution of the veins. In general, spider veins respond to treatment in 3 to 6 weeks, and larger veins respond in 3 to 4 months.