Veins are categorized as small, medium or large. In general, veins appropriate for sclerotherapy are either small or medium. Spider veins, the small red or purple veins on the skin surface, are the most common types treated by sclerotherapy. With the use of new techniques (foam) and new solutions (recently FDA approved) medium sized veins also may be treated with sclerotherapy. Not every vein can be treated: larger, bulging varicose are treated with other technologies and techniques.
A very small needle is placed into the vein and medicine is injected. This medicine causes a low grade inflammation of the vein. As the vein recovers from this reaction, it scars and shrinks, sealing the vein so no blood remains. The vein then fades over time.
All treatments are done in our office and take 15-30 minutes. Patients can walk immediately after the procedure. At the end of the procedure some type of compression is usually applied. These are worn from days to weeks depending on each physician's preference.
Sclerotherapy does not yield perfect results, but most veins will lighten and/or disappear. Most patients report a 70%-75% improvement in appearance.
Since sclerotherapy is a chemical reaction, results take at least six to eight weeks and can take up to six months. Progress will be checked at regular intervals after treatment at the center.
Improvement usually lasts long-term in the majority of cases. However, new areas of veins can develop over time. Sclerotherapy does not prevent new veins from appearing in other areas. Occasionally, areas may need re-treatment or "touch-up."
Complications after sclerotherapy are very rare. Pigmentation (darkening) of the skin overlying the treated veins is the most common complication, occurring in about 1% of patients. This usually fades on its own over time and may be helped by laser therapy. Other complications may include include inadvertent intra-arterial injection, skin ulceration, telangiectatic matting (blush spots), superficial inflammation, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), and allergic reaction. Our center is well prepared to treat any complications that may arise.