Is Sclerotherapy right for you?

As many as 20% of people will experience varicose veins at some point in their lifetime, with women being somewhat more vulnerable to them than men. Varicose veins are not simply of cosmetic concern. They can also cause pain, aching, itching, fatigue, and cramping. Without treatment, the problem can become severe and lead to serious health implications – not to mention self-consciousness about their appearance.

Varicose veins tend to be larger, more unsightly, more uncomfortable, and they may bulge. They are usually purplish-blue and are most common on the legs.

Spider veins can occur on their own or alongside varicose veins. They are tiny, twisting, dark red, blue, or purple, and are close to the skin’s surface. They are common on the legs but can also be seen on the chest, arms, and even on the face. They are also known as telangiectasias.

One of the better modern options for treating varicose veins is sclerotherapy. A minimally invasive technique, it is the preferred method for improved medical and cosmetic outcomes and less downtime. We are delighted to offer this treatment at Crows Nest Vein Clinic.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive medical procedure that reduces the appearance of spider and varicose veins and reduces or eliminates the physical side effects of these. Studies show more than 80% of people report a decrease in pain from varicose veins after undergoing this treatment. It is safe, efficient, effective, and considerably more affordable and less painful than traditional surgical techniques like vein stripping.

Sclerosing agents are injected directly into the varicose vein or spider vein with a very fine needle. The vein’s inner lining is damaged and it ultimately collapses, closes off, and the body eventually absorbs it naturally.

Which Areas Can Sclerotherapy Treat?

Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment option for varicose and spider veins on the:

  • Calves
  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Thighs
  • Face (more often beside the nose or on the chin)

Some doctors may use sclerotherapy in preference to surgery to treat small external haemorrhoids, which are varicose veins of the anus.

How Does It Work?

The procedure is performed in the clinic and may take up to an hour, depending on the area being treated and the severity of the vein/s. For varicose veins that are located deeper below the skin, the doctor will use ultrasound mapping to guide the procedure.

  1. A foam or liquid sclerosing agent will be injected into the vein using a very fine needle. This sclerosing agent will cause inflammation to and damage the inner walls of the vein, ultimately collapsing and sealing it. Blood flow will naturally redirect to untreated veins.
  2. As your body heals from the procedure, the treated vein will become scar tissue, be reabsorbed, and disappear.

Does Sclerotherapy Have any Risks/Side Effects?

You may require up to four treatments for best results, depending on the size of the treatment area. This treatment option is most effective for smaller varicose veins and spider veins.

There are a few things you need to understand before you undergo sclerotherapy:

  • Make sure you tell your vein doctor about any medical conditions you have and all medications (prescription and over-the-counter) that you are taking.
  • Unless you require them for a medical condition, you should avoid taking aspirin or ibuprofen for a few days before the procedure.
  • Do not shave or wax your legs before the procedure.
  • Avoid using lotion or moisturiser on the treatment area
  • You’ll need to wear a compression stocking on your treated leg/s for several days (at least) after sclerotherapy.

While sclerotherapy is considered to be very safe when performed by an expert, experienced doctor, like any medical procedure it does have some potential side effects and risks.

During the procedure, you may experience some stinging, burning, or cramping in the treated vein. It may be painful, particularly if some of the sclerosing agent is deposited or leaks outside of the vein. Some sclerosing solutions contain a mild local anaesthetic to minimise this discomfort.

Common, temporary side-effects of sclerotherapy include:

  • Stinging
  • Swelling
  • Discomfort
  • Bruising
  • Skin discolouration

Some people may develop brown spots or lines near the treatment area that resolve, in most cases, within three to six months. They may, rarely, be permanent.

In some people, new spider veins may appear near the treated area – these typically resolve and disappear within six months.

There are a few rare but serious side effects which include:

  • Mild inflammation at the injection site
  • Allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent
  • Blood clot formation within the treated vein
  • Skin ulceration or tiny superficial blood clot formation at the injection site

What to Expect After Sclerotherapy

As a minimally invasive procedure, sclerotherapy elicits very little or no downtime. Most people will return to daily activities immediately after their appointment. You may use paracetamol (as per the doctor’s advice) to alleviate discomfort, but avoid NSAIDs like Advil/Nurofen and aspirin.

It’s important to remain active (this helps prevent blood clots from forming) but avoid running, jogging, lifting weights, and other aerobic or strenuous exercise for a few days.

You will need to wear compression stocking/s (if your legs were treated) after the procedure (your doctor will advise the exact time frame) and these must be removed only to shower.

Avoid hot baths, spas, swimming pools, the beach, saunas, and exposure to sunlight for 48 hours after your treatment.

Do not fly or undertake any long-distance travel for several days.

In terms of results, larger veins may take up to four months for the best aesthetic outcomes to be revealed.

Book a Consultation at Crows Nest Vein Clinic

Before you undergo sclerotherapy or any other vein treatment, you’ll need to attend a consultation to discuss the procedure, assess your varicose veins, and determine whether this is the right approach for you.

Crows Nest Vein Clinic delivers world-standard vein treatments using the most modern, minimally invasive medical vascular techniques. The treatments we offer include sclerotherapy and microsclerotherapy.
Dr Nicole James is an empathetic, caring doctor with outstanding experience and expertise in this field of medicine. She is passionate about providing the very best care and achieving superior outcomes for her patients.

As an essential medical service, we are open as usual and compliant with all NSW Health COVID-19 guidelines.

Contact us now to book a consultation. Call (02) 9906 1555 or email [email protected].