Sclerotherapy has been used for decades to treat leg veins. It is most appropriate for spider veins. During the treatment, a special solution is injected directly into the vein through a tiny needle; discomfort is minimal. Treatment can last from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, depending on the number of veins treated in a particular session. Upon injection, the solution replaces the blood in the vein, generating irritation and inflammation of the vessel. The body then initiates a natural healing process during which the veins decompose, shrink and eventually disappear; this can take several weeks.
The physician will determine if you are a candidate. During consultation, a thorough review of your relevant medical history as well as examination of the affected areas will be performed. After assessing your specific findings, your provider will decide on the most appropriate treatment regimen. Depending on the types of veins, a combination of different treatment modalities may be suggested. For larger varicose veins, consultation with a vascular surgery specialist may be recommended.
The treated areas may appear bruised or darker following sclerotherapy. Occasionally, after treatment of larger vessels, the area may become pigmented; this is usually temporary, but may take several months to resolve. You may be asked to wear support hose or a supportive wrap following treatment to aid the healing process and prevent recurrence. As with any procedure, side effects may occur and will be discussed at your visit.
Treatment response will vary from patient to patient, and several treatments may be required to achieve the optimum result.
Sclerotherapy usually lasts several years. The treated veins do not reappear, but many people who are predisposed to developing leg veins will notice the appearance of new veins over time.