What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy (vein therapy) is the technique by which a specialized solution is carefully injected into the legs to help reduce the appearance of fine leg veins, also known as spider veins. Essentially, this solution works to shrink the blood vessels near the surface of the skin so less blood flows through them, which helps minimize the unappealing marks.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is sclerotherapy and what is it used for?
Sclerotherapy is the injection of a sclerosing solution into an abnormal vein. The solution that is injected destroys the vein wall which causes the vein to collapse and shut down. Sclerotherapy is a form of chemical ablation, while laser treatment is a form of thermal (heat) ablation. A small needle is used to inject the liquid chemical into the vein. Sclerotherapy is typically performed on very curvy varicose veins, bluish reticular veins, and reddish-purple spider veins.

What is the difference between ultrasound guided and traditional sclerotherapy?
The procedure of injecting a sclerosing solution is the same for both. The difference is we use an ultrasound machine to be our eyes for the deeper veins while traditional sclerotherapy is performed using a vein light to light up the superficial veins directly under the skin.

Is the procedure painful?
Patients report feeling a small stick with mild burning during the sclerotherapy procedure. You may also develop a slight histamine effect, similar to a bee sting. Hydrocortisone cream is applied to help. This will usually go away shortly after treatment. Generally, the procedure is well tolerated. Please let the provider know if you are having severe or moderate pain.

Will the procedure require any anesthesia?
This procedure does not require anesthesia and is performed in our office.

How long does the procedure last?
We usually allow 15 – 45 minutes for sclerotherapy.

Why can’t both legs be done on the same day?
We are limited to the amount of sclerosing solution that is used in the procedure. If too much is used, someone could have a reaction.

How often will I need to have sclerotherapy?
The same vein may need to be treated more than once. Treatments are usually done every 4 weeks.

Do I need a driver?
You will not need a driver for sclerotherapy.

How quickly can I resume normal activity, i.e. work, exercise?
Patients are walking immediately following the procedure, and typically, resume normal activities immediately. We recommend that you stay active with a walking regimen of two 20-minute walks a day to avoid any complications. You may continue exercise classes and gym routines, as long as it is comfortable to you. Don’t work through any pain (discomfort), but allow it to be your guide. You may need to take it easy for a day or two.

How long do I have to wear compression stockings?
For 10 days after sclerotherapy treatment, we recommend wearing gradient compression stockings which offer the greatest amount of pressure. Compression stockings put helpful pressure on your veins. You will need to be fitted for them by someone who has been trained to do this. You cannot wear them too much.

Do I need to bring my compression stockings and shorts to each visit?
Yes, please bring your compression stockings and shorts to each visit. We ask that you bring old, loose fitting shorts. We use different medical products that may stain or get on shorts.

What are the red, tender lumps forming on my leg(s) after the procedure?
These are what we call “SVT’s” (Superficial Venous Thrombosis). After the vein is treated, it is damaged. The body’s first response is inflammation – warm, red spots are common. In approximately 1 – 3 weeks, these spots will likely harden and feel like lumps or knots as they are healing. Eventually, these areas will decrease in size and tenderness. This is a normal response to the vein closing down. You may apply topical ice and take anti-inflammatory medications to help with this and it should quiet down within 3 – 5 days.

Why do I have bruising and how long will it last?
Bruising near the site of injection can occur and usually resolves with 7 – 10 days.

When will I see results?
Large veins may take approximately 6 – 9 months or even more to dissolve, while small veins may take approximately 2 – 3 months or even more to dissolve.

Why are we doing another ultrasound?
Each time we do a procedure, things change and we need to know what we are working with each time you come in.

What happens if I need to travel within the time that is recommended not to travel?
You will need to wear your compression stockings while traveling. If traveling by car, stop and walk every 90 minutes or so. If traveling by plane, walk hourly, if possible.

Do I need to wear undergarments or can I just use my undergarments as shorts?
Undergarments are not considered shorts. We ask that you please wear undergarments in addition to the shorts.

What if I don’t have shorts?
We have disposable paper shorts that are available for your use. Please wear undergarments under these shorts also.