Sclerotherapy is an injection of a medical solution into varicose and spider veins leading to collapse and subsequent reabsorption of the veins. This procedure can be done for spider veins, called cosmetic sclerotherapy, or it can be used to treat the larger veins in which we use ultrasound to guide us as we inject sequential locations along the veins. The injected medication has been formulated to appear as a white color under ultrasound, which allows us to identify the proper injection of the sclerotherapy into targeted veins.
If you suffer from spider or varicose veins, you may be a good candidate for ultrasound guided sclerotherapy. This technique can help many patients feel more comfortable in their own skin. However, you may want to learn more about the treatment before deciding if it is right for you. Here are some of the most common questions we hear about ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.
How does ultrasound guided sclerotherapy work?
Sclerotherapy agents work by irritating the inner lining or endothelium of the vein. This disrupts the cell membrane, which leads to the collapse of the vein. Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy works most effectively if the solution continues to adhere to the wall of the vein.
How long is the procedure?
The procedure can be done as an outpatient in-office as no anesthesia is needed. The procedures generally take between 20 and 60 minutes.
How safe is the procedure?
Sclerotherapy is less invasive than a standard surgical procedure to remove spider or varicose veins. Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is a safe and effective procedure. This method has been used and proven for decades. Allergy to sclerotherapy is extremely rare.
What are the side effects of ultrasound guided sclerotherapy?
Over the first few days, it is not uncommon for the veins to appear red, inflamed, or irritated as this therapy takes effect. The veins can also bruise or swell, and a brown/bruised pigment can appear. These symptoms can take up to several weeks or months to resolve; however, they require no further treatment and typically will go away on their own.
Do you have to wear compression stockings after the therapy treatment?
We do ask our patients to wear compression stockings for one week following treatment, compressing the veins and improving the binding of the medication. This increases the success of the treatment and prevents blood clots.
What does recovery look like?
Patients can return to normal activities the same day as the procedure. Many patients are even comfortable driving home after the treatment. If there are any side effects like discomfort, you can combat them with ibuprofen.
What should I expect for post-treatment care?
It is important to recognize that most patients will need two or more sessions of sclerotherapy to achieve optimal results. You may also be asked to briefly walk each day and to elevate your legs.
Why come to Heart of Dixie for ultrasound guided sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is an important adjunct to treat varicosities and tributaries of the saphenous veins where catheters and guide-wires cannot reach to ablate or seal incompetent veins. Our providers are highly experienced in performing these procedures. Additionally, other providers may use hypertonic saline as an agent for sclerotherapy that causes a painful sensation as it is injected. At Heart of Dixie Vein and Vascular Center, we use a formula called Polidocanol which is more effective, has a proven history of minimal side effects, and is less painful when injecting.
Come visit our friendly experts to give you the sclerotherapy care that you deserve. Call or contact us today to learn more about our ultrasound guided sclerotherapy treatments!