This is a popular form of treatment for small to medium sized varicose veins. There are several variations of this which include microsclerotherapy, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and the newer foam sclerotherapy.
Foam sclerotherapy is undertaken on large varicose veins.
Microsclerotherapy is the preferred type of treatment for thread veins.
The standard sclerotherapy procedure involves the sterilisation of the affected area before the injection of the chemical substance.
This liquid is injected into the affected veins, one vein at a time and the progress of this is carefully monitored. You may feel a slight burning sensation or itchiness during and after each injection but this quickly disappears.
As the liquid is injected into the veins it causes the inner layer to become inflamed and form a scar. These scars then close the vein by sealing it which forces the blood to flow through healthy veins instead.
This is repeated with all the varicose veins, both large and small. It is another procedure which does not require a general anaesthetic and can be performed as a day case.
This procedure takes around 30 minutes although this depends upon the extent of your varicose veins.
A dressing is applied to the treated area. You will be asked to wear compression stockings after this procedure for a set period of time.
Recovery after sclerotherapy
You will be encouraged to move around as soon as possible but avoid any intense exercise for the first few days following treatment.
Sclerotherapy can also be carried out using ultrasound.
Advantages of sclerotherapy
This treatment is a short term effective means of treating varicose veins but the long term effects are still unknown.
But in spite of that, it does deal with varicose veins in a minimally-invasive manner and is relatively painless as well. You may experience some mild discomfort as a result of the injections but this is short lived.
It is a safe form of treatment.
Disadvantages of sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy causes the damaged veins to fade and disappear but there is always a risk of recurrence. There is no cure for varicose veins which means that you have to treat and monitor them on a regular basis.
There is always a chance that they will come back even in spite of the newer forms of treatment such as endovenous laser ablation.
You will require several sessions of treatment before the vein completely disappears. Plus it is no guarantee against a recurrence.
There are also a few side effects with this treatment which include:
- Back ache
- Formation of blood clots in other veins
- Discolouration of the skin
- Temporary visual disturbances
This is something to consider when deciding whether to undergo sclerotherapy. But these risks will be discussed with you by your GP or vascular specialist.
Suitable candidate for sclerotherapy
Are you suitable for sclerotherapy? Most people are but there are a few exceptions to this which includes as follows:
- People with uncontrolled diabetes
- People with skin infections
- People who have experienced deep vein thrombosis
- Pregnant women/breastfeeding
- People taking medication such as anti-coagulants or corticosteroids.
Your suitability for this treatment will be decided by your GP. If he or she feels that you are unsuited to sclerotherapy then he/she will recommend an alternative.
The important thing to remember is that any form of treatment has side effects but they tend to be rare. Weigh up both the pros and cons before proceeding with this or any type of treatment.
Guide to Varicose Veins
- Guide to Varicose Veins
- Your leg veins
- Varicose veins
- Causes of varicose veins
- Symptoms of varicose veins
- Diagnosing varicose veins
- Treating varicose veins
- Non-surgical treatment for varicose veins
- Coil embolisation
- Foam sclerotherapy
- Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy
- Lifestyle changes
- Compression stockings
- Surgical treatment for varicose veins
- Vein ligation and stripping
- Endoscopic perforator vein surgery
- Latest treatments
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
- Endovenous laser treatment
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Transilluminated powered phlebectomy
- Complications of varicose veins
- Preventing varicose veins
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Varicose veins FAQs
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