What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is affordable, does not require anesthetic, and there is no downtime associated with this simple procedure. It utilizes a very fine needle to inject a solution into the varicose or spider vein. Spider vein treatment injections may bring only temporary success, and subsequent treatments may be required.

What happens during the Sclerotherapy procedure?

A chemical injection, such as a polidocanol or detergent solution, is injected into a vein, causing it to “spasm” or close up. Other veins then take over its work. It is most effective on smaller surface veins, less than 1-2mm in diameter.

Most patients compare the discomfort of the needle to an ant bite. The location of the vein determines if this procedure is done with or without ultrasound guidance. Different solutions are used depending on the type of vein, and different strengths of the solutions are used based on the size of the vessel. Once injected, the cells that line the vein wall (endothelium) will become irritated, inflamed, and damaged. External pressure is then applied using cotton balls, tape, and support hose.

The compression causes the vein walls to seal together, sealing the vein off from the rest of the vein network in your leg, and the vein can no longer transport blood. Your body will then break down and absorb the damaged vein and naturally redirect the blood flow to healthy veins.

Upon the completion of healing, the vein is no longer visible. It should be noted that the same vein may have to be treated more than once during your sclerotherapy sessions. The process is very similar to how your body heals a bad bruise. Spider veins do not have any known useful function and eliminating them will not affect your circulation, but instead, may improve circulation and symptoms of heaviness, aching and fatigue.

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