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What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a form of treatment where the doctor injects a medicine into the blood vessels or lymph vessels that causes them to shrink. It is commonly used to treat varicose veins, also called, spider veins.

How does sclerotherapy work?

Sclerotherapy involves injecting an irritating solution, called sclerosant in the affected vein. The solution causes vein to swell. The blood inside the vein clots resulting in shrinking of the vein. With time, vein changes to scar tissue that is absorbed by the body and fades to view.

How to get ready for the procedure?

A consultation with the doctor is must to assess the underlying need for sclerotherapy i.e. problematic vein or lymph vessel. Certain medications are avoided before sclerotherapy i.e. over-the-counter drugs, dietary supplements, and herbal medications. If you need to take any antibiotic drug before the procedure, contact the doctor. Shaving of legs is not recommended and no lotion, oil should be applied to the legs before the procedure.

What is the procedure?

The procedure is simple and requires only an injection without any surgery. During the treatment, you are made to lie on the back with legs elevated. The doctor cleans the area with an antiseptic solution and inserts a small needle into the vein. A solution called a sclerosant is then injected into the vein. You may feel burning, tingling, or nothing at all during the injection. The injection is followed by massaging the area by the doctor to prevent blood from re-entering the vein.

What care is to be taken after the procedure?

You will have the option to drive yourself home and resume your daily activities. Walking is encouraged as it prevents blood clots from forming in the area. You will need to wear a pad or compression stockings in the. Aerobic activity is strictly prohibited for a few days after the procedure. Drugs including aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory are strictly prohibited for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed. Also, you should avoid hot baths, hot compress, whirlpool or saunas and direct exposure to sunlight for 48 hours after treatment.

How long does the procedure last?

15-30 minutes

When can I see the effect of sclerotherapy?

Spider veins generally respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins respond in three to four months. Veins don’t reappear if they respond to the treatment.

What conditions does sclerotherapy treat?
  • Varicose veins
  • Malformed lymph vessels
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hydroceles
Are there any risks of sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is rarely associated with any risks. It is a less invasive and safe procedure than surgery, as it does not require any incisions and anesthesia. The most common side effects include bruising, redness, and pain near the injected vein. Also, red, raised areas may develop at the injection site. These minor side effects disappear within a few days. One-third of people usually develop small branches of blood vessels surrounding the injected vein. These vessels usually vanish on their own. Some people with a previous history of allergies may have an allergic reaction to the sclerosant causing burning in the vein, itching and swelling.

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