Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure performed to reduce and eliminate the unsightly presence of varicose veins (enlarged, raised, and tortuous swollen blood vessels) and spider veins (telangiectasia: smaller red/blue/purple veins easier spotted from beneath the skin) that arise from hormonal influx, increased pressure, blot clots, obesity, heredity, and occupational hazard.
Sclerotherapy involves targeting the vein with an injection of an FDA-approved solution which causes an irritation of the blood vessel, which all leads to the end result of closing off the blood supply, making them less visible. Sclerotherapy has been around since the 1930’s and its results are tried, tested, and true—but here are a few facts that may be worth highlighting to your clients prior to their appointment:
- Positive effects of Sclerotherapy include not only the closure of the target vein but the “feeder” vein as well. This reduces the chances of recurrence in the same area, an effect that laser therapy does not do.
- Patients can expect some home after-care which will include the wearing of compression stockings or compressive bandages for about two weeks after the treatment.
- Patients should also commit to some light exercise to encourage best results, improve circulation, and prevent blot clotting.
- Patients should be advised that one treatment may not be enough. While Sclerotherapy is the gold standard in vein removal, it also requires more than one treatment to ensure results.
- Along with the disappearance of varicose and spider veins, some side effects are possible.
- Some milder side effects include raised, red and irritated skin at the injection site along with prolonged itching for a day or two following the procedure
- More dangerous side effects, while rare, include venous thromboembolism, visual disturbances, allergic reaction, thrombophlebitis and skin necrosis.
- Some complications that can occur with larger veins include a hardening and lumpiness that requires weeks to months to fully dissolve and fade from sight.
- While Sclerotherapy is aimed to reduce discoloration, it is possible to experience the appearance of brown spotting or lines around injection site or along the vein. Usually the spotting will dissipate over a period of three to six months, though rarely the effect can be permanent one
- Neovascularization can occur. This means the development of new blood vessels at the injection site. These can show up in the days/weeks that follow treatment but should disappear within a year.
It is significantly important, as a professional, to discuss and explain all aspects of the treatment, including potential side effects, with your client before completing their first treatment.