What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a corrective procedure that utilizes fine micro needles in to eliminate spider veins. This practice has been used since the 1920s where a solution is injected into the superficial blood vessels that cause them to blanch and eventually disappear. One treatment session typically takes 20-30minutes.
What Should Patients Expect form Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy can correct fine spider veins called telangiectasias. Sclerotherapy does not remove varicose veins or treat the symptoms associated with varicose veins including heaviness, fatigue, or pain of the legs. Most people require at least three sclerotherapy sessions to achieve optimal results. Sclerotherapy is used to treat spider veins of the thighs, knees, and calves. Sclerotherapy cannot be used to treat spider veins of the feet or ankles because the risk of skin breakdown is higher in the areas.
Before the Sclerotherapy, you will be asked to fill out a questionnaire to access your risk of complications related to sclerotherapy. Some of the questions will ask you if you have a history of forming blood clots, are taking estrogen or blood thinners, or if you smoke tobacco. Then we examine your legs to see if you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy. During the procedure, you will be asked to lie down the table, and the areas with spider veins will be cleaned. The solution will then be injected into the spider vein carefully until the vessels blanch. After the areas will be cleaned and compression with cotton balls and tape will be applied to the injected areas. Your legs will be wrapped using an ace wrap to compress the area. You will then be asked to put your compression stockings on. After your sclerotherapy session, you will need to wear a compression stocking for at least 2 weeks to get a lasting result.
Who Cannot Have Sclerotherapy?
There are a number of contra-indications to Sclerotherapy. Contra-indications are reasons why you would not want to do Sclerotherapy because you may have a complication that would lead to a bad cosmetic outcome or put you at risk for serious harm to your health. Some of the contra-indications to sclerotherapy include:
1) history of blood clots, stroke, heart-attack
2) uncontrolled health problems such as diabetes, elevated cholesterol or blood pressure, or severe legs swelling (edema)
3) history of leg infection (cellulitis) or other skin infections
4) history of recent joint replacement or heart valve replacement
4) if you are taking estrogen, blood thinners, Aspirin, NSAIDs, Fish oil, Vitamin E, Gingko, Ginseng, Garlic, or other supplements
5) history of auto-immune disease such as Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Scleroderma;
history of leukemia or lymphoma; or history of organ transplant. Your doctor will go over these questions and may recommend blood work before you have Sclerotherapy.
How Successful Is Sclerotherapy?
Based on the average result, a single session of Sclerotherapy can eliminate at around 50-80 % of the visible spider veins. However, there are also a low percentage of people who do not respond to the treatment. Generally, you will see the spider veins lighten or completely disappear after where compression stocking for 2weeks after your procedure.
How does a Patient Need to Prepare for the Procedure?
You will need to order full length 15-30mmHg compression stockings and bring them to your appointment. You will be instructed to put them on after your sclerotherapy session. You will need to keep the compression stockings on full-time for 2days. Then you can remove the stocking when you sleep but you must continue to were the stockings during the day.
Also, you must refrain from high-exertion exercise for at least 2weeks following your sclerotherapy session.
Also, it is also recommended to avoid using blood thinners, NSAIDs, and Aspirin prior and for 48hours after Sclerotherapy.
Patients can return to work and normal activities the day of Sclerotherapy. Remember, the result of the treatment will not be instant. You will see improvement after 2weeks of wearing compression stockings.