Sclerotherapy is an injection into unwanted, incompetent veins using a small needle with a mild chemical solution that irritates the inside of veins, leading to scarring and eventual closure of the veins. Veins are absorbed by the body over time and blood is re-routed to a healthy vein. Sclerotherapy is commonly used on spider veins (tiny, flat, red or blue veins) and reticular veins (blue, flat medium-sized veins).
After the treatment, your legs will be placed in compression stockings that you will wear for three days. Patients can return to normal daily activities immediately after the procedure but should avoid heavy exercise for one week.
Most patients require three to four treatments to an area to have the majority of the veins disappear. Treatments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart.
Many patients report mild side effects, such as itching, which can last for one or two days after the procedure. You may experience raised, red areas at the injection site. These should disappear within a few days. Bruising may also occur around the injection site and can last several days or weeks. Larger veins that have been injected may become raised and hard, requiring several months to dissolve and fade. Brown areas may appear at the vein site. Most cases will disappear within three to six months, but they may also last indefinitely.
Aim for Success
Researchers demonstrate that as many as 50%-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy. Less than 10% of the people who undergo sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections. Although the procedure works for most patients, there are no guarantees for success. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. Unfortunately, new veins may appear and need further treatment.
As a result of genetics, pregnancy, weight change, or your occupation, many patients present complaining of small veins on their legs. Although some veins are large enough and need to be treated by sclerotherapy, the smaller veins might be better treated by laser. The decision depends on the diameter of the vessel. When using a laser, the treatment will take 20-30 minutes depending on the number of veins. You will often need one to three treatments. The veins will initially turn red, then brown and then fade away over a month. Who said mothers cannot wear miniskirts!
If you are considering having sclerotherapy, please call our office at (212) 600-4109 to arrange for an appointment. Our New York City practice accommodates out of town and international patients who need to travel in for surgery as well as those who are local to Manhattan.