If you have developed vein issues such as varicose or spider veins, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatment options. Your treatment options may include injections, minimally invasive procedures or even surgery. Sclerotherapy is the main treatment option for spider veins and is a technique very common for certain varicose veins. This technique is performed right in your doctor’s office and is often painless.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is defined as the treatment of varicose blood vessels by the injection of an irritant which causes inflammation, coagulation of blood, and narrowing of the blood vessel wall. This minimally invasive medical procedure is effective in the elimination of varicose and spider veins. The goal is to re-route the blood flowing through the damaged veins causing the vein issues by destroying or removing the veins. The remaining veins then take over the workload properly carrying the blood where it needs to go throughout the body.
Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
Your eligibility will be determined after an initial consultation with your doctor and is dependent upon overall health, reasoning for the issues, underlying medical conditions & more. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you are not eligible to receive this type of treatment. If you have spider veins or small varicose veins, have not had issues with blood clotting issues in the past, and are between the age of 30 – 60, you will likely benefit most from sclerotherapy. Not meeting these requirements does not automatically disqualify you. If you are seeking a solution to your vein issues, your doctor can determine your eligibility off of your individual situation. If Sclerotherapy is not for you, there are other options available.
Why is Sclerotherapy necessary?
Your veins help move oxygen and nutrient rich blood throughout your body back to the heart. When blood is not able to travel due to a damaged vein, complications can occur. Varicose veins can be very painful causing leg cramps, aches, swelling, and more. If left untreated, they can cause bleeding, changes in skin color, ulcers, blood clots, and can even lead to surrounding smaller veins to dilate and become varicose too. While spider veins are typically harmless, they can make you feel self-conscious. Sclerotherapy is a good solution to decrease or eliminate symptoms and improve appearance.
How is Sclerotherapy Performed?
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a problem vein with a chemical that causes the blood vessel to close up and eventually disappear. Using a very fine needle, your doctor performs the injection known as a “sclerosing” chemical into the dilated blood vessel. This chemical irritates the vessel by causing inflammation, causing the walls of the vessel to stick together. This ensures the treated vessel is no longer able to hold blood. It will shrivel up and eventually be reabsorbed into the body. There is not any special preparation needed before this therapy but you will be restricted from aerobic activity for a few days post procedure. Generally speaking, there is little or no pain during treatment, though you may feel mild cramping or a slight burning sensation a few minutes after.
Risks of Sclerotherapy
Risks and potential complications are very rare, but as with any medical procedure, they are possible. Some risks include:
-Allergic reaction to the chemical used in injections
-Blood clotting (more likely if you have a history of blood clotting)
-Scabbing or scarring
-Small skin ulcers
-Discoloration along a treated vessel (Usually temporary).
While Sclerotherapy is an excellent treatment option, it cannot guarantee that problem veins will not develop again in the future. It can be a recurring condition and underlying causes may still exist. If this is a concern for you, discuss some new habits and lifestyle changes that can reduce your risk of vein issues.
If you are experiencing vein issues, schedule a consultation with CT Cardio to go over treatment options for your situation! To learn more about what can be done about problem veins and why they develop, click here.