What Is Sclerotherapy, and How Effective Is It?

Since at least the 19th century, sclerotherapy has been used to treat chronic venous insufficiencies. Particularly effective against spider veins, it’s a proven course of treatment that offers immediate relief and positive, long-term results. When preventative care and other noninvasive treatments fail, sclerotherapy is an ideal solution for most patients with spider veins. However, like any medical procedure, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the process before making a final decision.

Here’s what you need to know.

The Basics

Put simply, sclerotherapy involves an injection of a solution, the sclerosant, directly into the affected vein. The solution damages the inner lining of the vein. After the vein collapses, the treated vein is reabsorbed into the surrounding tissue, and blood is rerouted through healthier surrounding veins.

Sclerotherapy is a non-invasive outpatient procedure that usually takes no more than 30 minutes. Once treatments conclude, patients are able to drive themselves home and resume normal activities, though most patients should wear compression garments over the treated vein, avoid prolonged sun exposure, and refrain from aerobic exercise for several days after the procedure.

One of the most common questions regarding sclerotherapy is – Is it a painful procedure? The answer is that the procedure is tolerated by most patients extremely well. On average, the pain from the procedure is rated by most patients as a 1 or 2 on a scale to 10. Anxiety medicine can be prescribed for the procedure if a patient’s anxiety is high.

How Sclerotherapy Helps

For patients suffering from spider veins, it can alleviate pain, significantly reduce swelling, and promote circulation. By lessening swelling, it can also eliminate unsightly bulging of the veins against the skin.

Possible Complications

While most spider vein cases respond well to sclerotherapy, some patients may require multiple rounds of treatment before seeing improvement. If pain and inflammation remain after three to four weeks, another injection may be necessary.

As a noninvasive procedure, sclerotherapy carries fewer complications than a more invasive alternative, but some patients may experience some minor side effects. The most common include pain, itching, bruising, and inflammation at the site of the injection, but slight discoloration of the skin and hives are possible in some cases. Most of these symptoms should not last for much longer than several days.

Know Your Options

While sclerotherapy is an effective and appropriate therapy for many patients, different conditions and circumstances may require different approaches. Today, there are a wide variety of minimally or non-invasive treatment options for venous disorders available.

Schedule an appointment with Vascular Surgeon Dr. Andrew Hearn for expert vein care. At The Vein Center of Cincinnati, Dr. Hearn provides the latest, most advanced vein treatments to maintain or improve your vein health. During your initial consultation, Dr. Hearn will take the time to help you understand the underlying cause of your discomfort, explain your treatment options, and then guide you through every step of your procedure and recovery. Call our office today at (513) 232-2400, you’ll be glad you did!

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