Before And After Sclerotherapy

The Complete Guide About Before And After Sclerotherapy

Unsightly spider veins or bulging varicose veins on legs can make wearing shorts or swimsuits an embarrassing affair. If you’re seeking smoother-looking limbs for summer, sclerotherapy remains a proven treatment for permanently eliminating problematic veins through strategic injections. But what exactly does sclerotherapy involve? What should you expect before, during, and after sessions? And ultimately, how successful is this minimally invasive approach at restoring confidence in your legs’ appearance? Let’s explore the complete patient’s guide to undergoing sclerotherapy procedures.

Understanding Sclerotherapy Basics First, let’s cover the fundamentals of what sclerotherapy entails as a medical vein treatment. This outpatient procedure involves injecting an FDA-approved liquid chemical irritant directly inside troublesome surface veins in the legs or face. The solution used, called a sclerosant, damages the interior vein wall lining, making blood clot and inflame the vessel closed. Over time, the entire vein collapses and scars shut from lack of blood flow, forcing circulation to redirect through healthier adjoining veins instead. Doctors utilize very fine needles to meticulously inject tiny amounts of sclerosant foam or liquid form exactly where needed without affecting surrounding tissues. Injected veins include reticular “spider veins” and larger ropey varicose veins. Sessions last 15-40 minutes depending on the number of veins requiring treatment.

What Happens Before And After Sclerotherapy Session?

Patients should take a few key steps to prepare in the days and hours leading up to their vein injection appointment:

  • Avoid blood-thinning medications like aspirin for 1-week pre-treatment, unless medically contraindicated, to minimize bruising risks.
  • Refrain from alcohol intake 24 hours beforehand since it may dilate veins and reduce treatment effectiveness.
  • Hydrate well by drinking ample water to keep vein walls soft and pliable for best injection access.
  • Help veins protrude for the doctor by wearing shorts to your visit even if the weather is cool.
  • Arrive with legs thoroughly washed and shaved to allow clear vein visualization, without lotions or creams that act as barriers.
  • Take ibuprofen shortly before your procedure to curb potential swelling post-injections.

What to Expect During the Procedure Immediately before a sclerotherapy session, the physician or technician will…

  • Thoroughly cleanse and prep the injection sites on your legs.
  • Use surgical markers to map out individual veins needing treatment.
  • Apply a topical anesthetic cream for 20-30 minutes until the skin numbs.
  • Re-cleanse the legs before carefully injecting sclerosant into each problematic vein.
  • Use compression tape or pads to minimize bruising following injections.

You’ll remain awake during the quick injections, possibly feeling some very minor stinging initially until the numbing takes effect. The doctor may massage the veins or utilize ultrasound guidance to disperse the injected solution throughout before finishing up.


The Healing Process In the days and weeks after undergoing sclerotherapy injections, keep these next steps in mind:

Immediately Post-Procedure Expect legs to look and feel slightly swollen, red, and bruised post-treatment as the injected vein walls inflame shut. Use prescribed compression stockings for 3-5 days continuously to minimize swelling and seal vein closure. Limit vigorous exercise while healing.

1 Week Later Most swelling/bruising improves dramatically within a week after sclerotherapy injections. Some residual hardened lumps along treated veins may remain. Brownish discoloration or reddish patches also emerge as vessels disintegrate under the skin but fade naturally over time.

1 Month Later Visible spider veins and varicose veins turn lighter and less apparent each week as they continue collapsing. Continue light exercise and compression. Remaining skin discoloration blends towards matching normal skin’s shade.

3 Months Later Successfully treated veins removed by sclerotherapy injections appear essentially invisible by 12 weeks post-procedure. Only faint track marks may linger temporarily where injections occur.

6 Months Later Treated areas now reveal smooth, beautiful, vein-free legs continuously. Maintenance sessions every few years treat any new faulty veins cropping up.

Different Types Of Sclerotherapy

There are a few main types of sclerotherapy used to treat various conditions:

Liquid Sclerotherapy

  • Used to treat varicose veins and spider veins
  • Involves injecting a liquid chemical (detergent, osmotic, or chemical irritant) into the vein which damages the lining of the vein and causes it to swell shut
  • Common sclerosants used include sodium tetradecyl sulfate, polidocanol, and hypertonic saline

Foam Sclerotherapy

  • Used to treat larger varicose veins in the legs
  • The sclerosant is whipped with air or another gas to create a foam
  • The foam displaces blood and stays in contact with the vein lining for better effectiveness

Microfoam Sclerotherapy

  • Used for bigger varicose veins not treatable by liquid sclerotherapy
  • Uses a foamed sclerosant with small bubbles to treat larger veins

Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy

  • Uses ultrasound imaging to visualize the vein and precisely guide the injection of the sclerosant liquid
  • Helps improve accuracy and effectiveness

The type of sclerotherapy used depends on the specific veins being treated, their size, location, and underlying cause for the individual patient. The procedure is often performed in a doctor’s office and can require multiple treatment sessions.

Are Multiple Treatments Necessary?

Most patients show tremendous improvements in leg vein appearance from a single round of properly performed sclerotherapy injections. However, deeper reticular “spider” veins often necessitate 2-3 staggered treatment sessions spaced 6-8 weeks apart for optimal results.

For severe varicose veins, phlebectomy vein removal surgery or endogenous ablation heat methods may supplement sclerotherapy for best outcomes. Your vein doctor customizes an appropriate plan depending on your veins’ extent and severity.

Sclerotherapy Effectiveness Over Time

When adequately performed by an experienced vein expert, sclerotherapy offers permanent removal of underlying diseased veins in 80-90% of patients. For the few patients requiring additional touch-up injections long-term, costs stay relatively affordable compared to a single round of treatment.

Maintaining steady leg health also prevents the formation of new problematic veins years later. This includes eating nutritious whole foods, exercising regularly, avoiding excessive sun exposure, managing a healthy weight, and quitting smoking immediately.

Why You Need Sclerotherapy?

There are a few main reasons someone may need sclerotherapy treatment:

  1. To treat varicose veins: Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins that typically appear swollen and raised on the legs. They can cause aching, pain, swelling, leg heaviness, and skin ulcers. Sclerotherapy destroys the vein, forcing blood to re-route through healthier veins and reducing varicose veins’ appearance and symptoms.
  2. To treat spider veins: Spider veins are smaller purple, blue, or red veins under the skin’s surface, typically also on the legs and feet. While sometimes just a cosmetic issue causing unattractive clusters of veins, they can also trigger discomfort like cramping and burning. Sclerotherapy eliminates clusters of spider veins.
  3. To treat venous leaks: Sometimes faulty valves in veins can cause “venous leaks”, allowing blood that should be flowing to the heart to leak back down the legs. This causes reflux and pooling in veins, resulting in varicose veins, swelling, and pain. Sealing leaky valves via sclerotherapy may help redirect blood flow properly again.
  4. Reduce risk of complications: While many venous disorders like varicose veins and spider veins don’t pose life-threatening risks, if left untreated they can worsen over time and even lead to sores, blood clots, and ulcers in some cases. Early sclerotherapy treatment helps avoid future problems.
  5. Provide cosmetic improvement: For some patients, the appearance of highly visible varicose or spider veins causes emotional distress and impacts self-confidence and quality of life. Getting rid of unsightly veins can boost comfort in one’s skin.

So in essence, keeping veins and blood flow healthy, reducing the risk of progression, and improving appearance and peace of mind make sclerotherapy helpful for eligible vein disorder patients. As always, speak to your doctor to decide if you require this intervention.

Are You A Good Candidate For Sclerotherapy?

Nearly all adults remain great candidates for safe, effective sclerotherapy treatment of spider veins and varicose veins. However, doctors do not recommend sclerotherapy for pregnant or breastfeeding women as risks to the fetus or infant remain unknown.

People with clotting disorders, vein inflammation, circulation issues or a history of deep vein thrombosis require assessment before proceeding as well. Otherwise, the minimally invasive injections pose few medical restrictions that would preclude eligibility for most patients.

What Are Possible Side Effects?

Beyond short-term redness, swelling, bruising, and tenderness after injections, other potential sclerotherapy side effects include:

  • Raised visible lumps under the skin where treated veins once existed. Often dissipate within 2 months.
  • Brown lines or discolored patches lingering where veins cleared. Usually resolved within 3-12 months.
  • Allergic reaction in extremely rare cases. Avoid sclerosants containing sodium tetradecyl sulfate if allergies are present.
  • Unintentional injection into an artery nearby instead of a vein. Can cause tissue ulceration but very unlikely.
  • Blood clot formation. The risk drops with proper compression wear use after sessions.

FAQs: Sclerotherapy

How long do sclerotherapy results last?

When performed correctly, sclerotherapy offers permanent removal of underlying faulty veins in 80-90% of patients. Occasionally new veins require treatment down the road from new valve damage or undiagnosed connective tissue disorders.

Does sclerotherapy hurt?

You may feel some minor stinging or burning briefly during injections. But topical numbing creams used for 20-30 minutes pre-treatment followed by ice packs prevent substantial discomfort for most patients.

What is the cost of sclerotherapy

? Per session sclerotherapy costs range widely from $300-$800+ depending on your doctor, the number/type of veins being treated, and your geographical location. Many practices offer bundled pricing plans.

When can I resume exercise after sclerotherapy?

Refrain from vigorous activity, swimming, or hot tubs for 1 week post-treatment. After that walking, stretching, and light exercise help circulation and healing. Just avoid heavy weight lifting that strains injection sites for at least 2 weeks.

End Words

In as soon as one to three monthly treatment sessions, sclerotherapy offers the potential to permanently erase unsightly spider veins and ropey varicose veins plaguing your legs or face. Implement proper preparation, healing, and prevention methods before and after injections to ensure smoother, healthier, and more youthful-looking limbs for years ahead.


My name is Selina, a medical specialist blogger helping people access treatment for 5+ years. Although blogging awhile, only recently deeply engaged. This past year my most productive, providing hospital reviews and info on symptoms, diagnoses and diseases. Also offer guidelines to help readers navigate healthcare. Goal to continue increased content pace to assist many. Aim to facilitate treatment and empower advocacy through writing.

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