A very popular winter treatment, Sclerotherapy is an injectable treatment for leg veins, which works to seal off the visible veins under the skin. Whereas laser treatments are commonly performed for leg veins that are brown or red in color, sclerotherapy is typically used for veins that are blue. At the heart of the sclerotherapy procedure is polidocanol, a special injectable solution that is designed to seal off small blood vessels. When injected into a vessel, polidocanol interacts with the vein’s inner lining, which leads to irritation and causes the vein to seal off. Your body’s vascular system then re-routes the blood that would normally travel through the affected blood vessel to other veins.
Over time, the body breaks down the blood vessel sealed with sclerotherapy and replaces it with other tissue. Most patients see the full results of treatment several months after the procedure, and this will depend on every patient’s unique situation (which includes the severity of the original issue and how quickly their body heals). The initial part of the healing process involves the full closure of the treated blood vessels, which are then broken down by the body and replaced with scar tissue. At this stage, the veins should be significantly less visible, but you may feel small bumps under the skin, where the original blood vessel was.
Sclerotherapy can be done for several reasons:
Cosmetic purposes — to improve the appearance of varicose and spider veins
The procedure also can improve related symptoms such as aching, swelling, burning, night cramps
If you’re pregnant, doctors recommend waiting until after your delivery to have sclerotherapy done.
Sclerotherapy is a fairly safe procedure with few complications.
Temporary side effects
Some 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
These side effects usually go away within a few days to several weeks.
Sclerotherapy is highly effective
Most patients are generally satisfied with their results from sclerotherapy with as many as 50-80% of injected veins disappearing in a single treatment. You leave the procedure with legs that are soon smooth and healthy-looking. If you've avoided that summer dress or your favorite pair of shorts because of bulging and/or web-like veins, this treatment can provide a permanent
Although sclerotherapy has been successful for most patients, there is no guarantee that the treatment will work for everyone. Even so, less than 10% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy don’t respond to injections.
Spider veins typically fade in three to six weeks. Large veins or varicose veins tend to disappear in three to four months. If new unsightly veins appear, you may need to return for additional treatment
Click here to check the most frequently asked questions about the treatment.