Sclerotherapy for Veins
Sclerotherapy is for treating Varicose Veins and Spider Veins
Sclerotherapy is a medical treatment used to remove unwanted varicose veins and spider veins. The treatment is typically performed on the legs, but can also treat unwanted veins on the torso and face.
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical, injection-based procedure that involves a “sclerosing” solution being injected into varicose (also known as reticular) veins and spider veins. The solution creates a clot and then the vein is eliminated through your body’s natural healing process.
A very fine needle is used for the injections, which causes slight discomfort that most patients described as annoying rather than painful. The full treatment typically includes several treatments every 6 to 8 weeks and we will work with you to develop a specific treatment plan.
How does Sclerotherapy Work?
Sclerotherapy works by using a very fine needle to inject a sclerosing solution into varicose (large blue-green) veins and/or spider (small, reddish-purple) veins. The solution creates a clot that causes the unwanted vein to shrink and be naturally absorbed by your body. This procedure also helps prevent the reoccurrence or reappearance of spider veins by treating the nearby “feeder” veins.
What Should I Expect During and After the Procedure?
Before you schedule a sclerotherapy procedure, you must come in for an initial consultation. During this consultation we will thoroughly examine your legs and any other areas of concern, such as hips or torso. We will use this time to discuss your concerns and determine how many sessions you will need to achieve the desired results.
Although most patients have uncomplicated leg veins, some may present with more complicated veins that require a complete evaluation and ultrasound by a physician specialist, called a phlebologist.
The actual treatment typically takes about 30 minutes in an office setting. After the treatment, we will apply compression dressings if needed. We will help you put on your support stockings. Compression hose or support stocking are required for up to one week after each treatment.
How Long Does it Take to Heal?
It is normal for the treated area to look worse before improvement is seen. Support stockings are used to reduce cosmetic downtime, improve healing times, and prevent recurrence of small vessels after treatment.
After your initial sclerotherapy treatment, the treated veins will fade in appearance within a few weeks, but often it may take up to a month to see full results.
Multiple treatments are usually required to achieve the desired outcome. Treatments are spaced 6 weeks or more apart to allow complete resolution of the veins treated during the previous session.
Cosmetic downtime can range from a few weeks to a month or more, depending on your individual healing process. Due to this, it is important to factor in and schedule accordingly the time needed to complete a series of 2-3 treatments and the related downtime when planning for an important social event or a special occasion. It is common for patients to begin leg vein treatments in the fall so they can be ready for spring and summer weather.
Who Performs the Sclerotherapy Treatment?
The procedure is performed our San Francisco office, by: Jennifer Fick, Certified Aesthetic Nurse Specialist. Your plastic surgeon, Dr. Deschamps-Braly MD will be on hand to consult if needed.
Sclerotherapy: Pre-Treatment Recommendations
- If possible, prior to treatment, avoid anticoagulant medications, including Ibuprofen, Motrin, and Aspirin.
- Avoiding alcohol prior to treatment may reduce bruising.
- Avoid sun exposure prior to treatment for at least 3-4 weeks and for an additional 4-6 weeks after treatment.
Sclerotherapy: Post-Treatment Procedures
- Be sure to wear the compression stockings for a full week after the treatment procedure.
- Wear the stockings continuously for the first 48 hours, removing only for a quick, lukewarm shower once daily.
- After the initial 48 hours, wear the stockings daily, from the time you rise in the morning, until bedtime.
- You may wash the stockings with a gentle detergent and allow them to dry overnight. Do not put them in the dryer.
- After the first week, we recommend that patients who stand for long periods of time or spend long hours on their feet continue to wear the stockings during those times.
- For the first 24-48 hours (after each treatment), please avoid the following:
- Aerobic or strenuous exercise. Although gentle walking is recommended and helps with the healing process.
- Avoid hot showers and baths for 24-48 hours after treatment. Quick, lukewarm showers are recommended.
- Itching will typically subside after a few hours. To help ease itching or discomfort, we recommend cool packs or a soothing gel.
- Avoid sun exposure for an additional 4-6 weeks after treatment. If sun exposure cannot be avoided, a physical sunblock that includes titanium dioxide or zinc oxide must be used. Sun exposure may exacerbate occasional pigmentation, causing it to last longer.
- Most patients experience bruising that lasts approximately 2-3 weeks after each treatment. This is followed by some mild pigmentation that can persist for a few weeks to up to a few months after each treatment. We will discuss this with you in order to plan your treatments accordingly.