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Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins: What to Expect

Feb 01, 2024
Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins: What to Expect
Sclerotherapy is one of several minimally invasive treatment options for patients with vascular concerns. Treatment is relatively quick, and patients can return to their normal routine without the need for extended downtime. 

Varicose veins are unsightly, swollen, and often painful veins that most often appear on the legs and can lead to significant discomfort and health issues if left untreated. Sclerotherapy, a proven treatment for varicose veins, offers a solution that is both effective and minimally invasive. 

For patients considering sclerotherapy, knowing what to expect can help make the process smoother. At Third Coast Vascular, our team of interventional radiologists and wound care specialists provide comprehensive care to patients in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. 

For patients with varicose veins, treatments such as endovenous ablation, vein removal surgery, and sclerotherapy are effective at eliminating problem veins. A comprehensive evaluation is essential in determining which approach is the most appropriate for each patient. 

Sclerotherapy overview

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution directly into the vein, which irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse. The resulting scar tissue prompts the body to reroute blood to healthier veins, which improves vascular health. This treatment is particularly effective for smaller varicose veins and spider veins.

Consultation and preparation

A thorough consultation with one of our vein specialists is the first step of the sclerotherapy journey at Third Coast Vascular. During this meeting, the doctor evaluates the veins, discusses medical history, and determines if sclerotherapy is the best course of action. 

The provider may recommend avoiding certain medications or skin products, before the procedure.

During the procedure

Sclerotherapy is performed in-office here at Third Coast Vascular, and typically takes less than an hour, depending on the number of veins being treated. Patients are awake during the procedure. It’s normal to feel slight discomfort or cramping for a couple of minutes when the solution is injected. However, the procedure is generally well-tolerated.

Patients can expect to lie down with their legs slightly elevated. After cleaning the area, the doctor uses a fine needle to inject the solution into the vein. Patients may need multiple injections, depending on the number and size of veins being treated.

Recovery and aftercare

Post-treatment, patients can expect to walk and resume their normal activities. Walking and moving the legs is important to prevent blood clots from forming. Patients may be instructed to wear compression socks for about two weeks to compress the treated vessels.

It's normal to experience some bruising, redness, or small sores at the injection site. 

Patients might also notice tiny red blood vessels near the treated area. These typically resolve on their own. It's advisable to avoid exposing treated areas to the sun during the recovery period to reduce the risk of dark spots.

Sclerotherapy results 

The results of sclerotherapy are not immediate. A few weeks are necessary to see the full treatment effects. In the case of larger veins, it may take a few months. The same vein may need to be treated more than once for optimal results. Most patients can expect a 50% to 80% improvement.

Sclerotherapy has a high success rate, and treated veins generally don't come back. However, it doesn't prevent new veins from appearing. While it’s not always possible to prevent future varicose veins, some steps can lower the risk. 

Long-term care and maintenance

After undergoing sclerotherapy, long-term care and maintenance are essential to ensure the best possible results and to minimize the chance of new varicose or spider veins forming. 

Incorporating regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding prolonged periods of standing or sitting can improve circulation and vein health. Wearing compression stockings as advised by a Third Coast Vascular provider can also support vein health. Adopting a lifestyle that supports healthy veins is key to long-term success.

Additionally, routine follow-up visits with a Third Coast Vascular vein specialist are crucial. These check-ups provide the opportunity to monitor the treated areas and address any new concerns that may arise. 

With careful attention to vein health, patients can enjoy the lasting results of sclerotherapy treatment and keep their legs looking and feeling their best. To learn more about varicose vein treatment, including sclerotherapy, and to schedule a visit, contact us at Third Coast Vascular to request an appointment.