What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical procedure used to treat varicose veins. Your healthcare provider will inject a solution into the blood vessels or lymph vessels and cause them to shrink to treat spider veins or varicose veins. The procedure irritates the targeted blood or lymph vessel and causes it to swell. This swelling will cut off the flow of lymph fluid or blood to the vessel and make it shrink as a result. This article provides information on what really is sclerotherapy.
When the Sclerotherapy Procedure Was First Used
Sclerotherapy has been successfully used since the 1930s to treat varicose and spider veins by vascular surgeons in Los Angeles, CA and across the country. The procedure works well for most candidates and eliminates between 50-80% of injected veins in one session. But less than 10% of patients who have sclerotherapy may not respond to the injections. If such a case, your healthcare provider will try a different method to treat the condition including laser therapy.
Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins
Most of the time, spider veins respond to sclerotherapy in 3 to 6 weeks while larger veins take between 3 to 4 months to respond to the treatment. The treated veins won’t reappear, but new veins can reappear over time. In such an instance, the patient should return for new injections.
Not all patients are eligible candidates for sclerotherapy. You need to consult a vascular specialist to know if you are an eligible candidate for the procedure. Your healthcare provider will evaluate your condition and decide if you are an eligible candidate for sclerotherapy. Pregnant and breastfeeding women are not eligible for the treatment. They should wait at least three months after delivery for the procedure.
Where Do Surgeons Perform Sclerotherapy Treatment?
Sclerotherapy is performed in a doctor’s office. First, the treatment area is cleaned and the solution is directly injected into the affected vessels. The size and location of the veins will determine how many veins are injected during a session. There are certain medications to be avoided before you avail yourself of a sclerotherapy session.
Some of these medications include aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory medications, antibiotics such as Tetracycline & Minocin, and prednisone. Some of these medications will make the sclerosing agent less effective. Talk to your healthcare provider before you go for the session to know what other medications you need to stop before the treatment session.
How Long Does the Procedure Last?
The sclerotherapy session lasts between 30 to 45 minutes. You can drive yourself home after the session. You can resume regular activities soon after the treatment. But you need to wear hosiery or compression wraps to compress the vessels that have been treated.
Do not take hot baths, aspirin, ibuprofen, anti-inflammatory medications, and avoid direct sunlight to the treated area for 48 hours after the procedure. You may wash the injected site with mild soap and lukewarm water. Don’t use hot compresses or heat on the injected site for two days.
You may feel mild discomfort during the treatment session as well as a cramping sensation for about two minutes when larger veins are treated. As with any medical advice, it’s best to discuss with a vein doctor or near you. Be sure to ask your local vascular surgeon in Los Angeles, CA about whether the procedure is right for you or contact the Encino Vascular Institute.