Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment for the eradication of varicose and spider veins. Medication injected directly into the vein causes inflammation (irritation) of the vein. This inflammation over time induces scarring and fibrosis or thrombosis (clotting) of the injected vein which leads to the shutting down of that vein.
Sclerotherapy is a safe procedure.There are, however, several points which patients should know. a.Most patients require multiple treatment sessions to achieve desired results. Treatments are usually spaced a minimum of 4 weeks apart. Some veins are resistant to sclerotherapy. b.There is occasional skin pigmentation (brown spots) at the sites of injection in 5% -10% of patients. This is due to inflammation of the overlying skin. This pigment usually disappears with time, however, occasionally may be permanent. c.Rarely (<1%) patients can develop a small sore or ulcer at the site of injection. These generally heal well with local care only. d.Other less common problems rarely occur. These include allergic reactions and phlebitis.
What to Expect at Time of Procedure
Gauze and Ace Bandages are usually applied at the completion of the procedure, so please wear loose fitted clothing (baggy pants, sweat pants or shorts) to your appointment. Take all medications as prescribed by your other doctors.
After standing, the legs are cleaned with an alcohol swab and several small marks may be made with a special skin marker. The marks wash off after getting wet several times. The injections are done while lying down in a reclining chair. There is minimal discomfort during the procedure. A small pinch is felt at the time of the injection.This is followed by a mild burning sensation which usually lasts just a few minutes. At the completion of the procedure gauze and ace bandages are applied.
The Gauze and Ace bandages should remain dry and intact for 2-3 days. Re-wrap the ace bandages as necessary to keep them snug. After 2-3 days remove the ace bandages and discard the gauze bandages. You may shower or bathe at this point. Mild swelling, bruising, redness and tenderness at the injection sites are normal and expected. The discoloration will improve, and you will notice the veins will fade over the next several weeks.
For the first 10 days after injections, limit standing and walking as much as possible. Avoid sitting in a straight back chair with your feet on the floor. Elevate your legs above your heart as much as possible. Most patients return to work and can perform normal daily activities. You should wear the large ace wrap or a good fitting elastic support stocking from the foot to above the highest vein injected as much as possible when out of bed. Avoid vigorous exercise or high-impact aerobics during this time. Tylenol may be taken for mild pain at injection sites.
Allow 3-4 weeks for healing after the injections. If some veins persist or you have additional veins which you want treated, call to arrange for another injection session. Be sure to make it clear that you have been treated once and wish to have additional injections so that the proper day and enough time can be scheduled.
Do not hesitate to call the office with any questions or concerns. Should you experience pain, fever or note significant swelling, call the office or just come in to the emergency ward.
Vascular Associates of Long Island 631-246-8289
4 Technology Drive, Suite 120 East Setauket, NY 11733