How to Remove Trapped Blood After Sclerotherapy

Getting Rid of Residual Blood After Sclerotherapy

Over 30 million Americans have spider veins and small reticular veins, which are unsightly and sometimes painful. Sclerotherapy is a quick, minimally-invasive procedure that eliminates these veins by injecting an irritating solution to scar and seal the veins shut. However, sealing off veins can trap blood in nearby tissue temporarily. Learning how to remove trapped blood after sclerotherapy with comfort and speed up results.

Sclerotherapy is a common cosmetic treatment used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. While it’s generally considered safe and effective, it can occasionally result in trapped blood under the skin, leading to visible bruising or discoloration. This trapped blood is medically known as a hematoma. If you have a hematoma after sclerotherapy, don’t panic – here’s what you need to know about getting rid of residual blood and bruising after your treatment.

How to Remove Trapped Blood After Sclerotherapy

If bruising or a painful hematoma develops after sclerotherapy for spider and varicose veins, using conservative home treatments can help speed up the reabsorption process. It’s critical to elevate your legs above heart level as much as possible – this enables gravity to drain trapped blood from veins. Apply cold compresses to constrict blood vessels and relieve swelling. Wearing medical-grade compression stockings also aids overall circulation and evacuation of blood caught under your skin. Over-the-counter supplements like bromelain, arnica, and rutin may also gently reduce inflammation and encourage healing over time. With patience, even sizable areas of skin discoloration and trapped blood typically fade within 8 to 12 weeks. However, seek prompt medical attention if you have signs like ulceration, bleeding, severe pain, or infection – as these can signal serious complications. Calling your doctor early makes treatment easier if problems develop.

What Causes Trapped Blood After Sclerotherapy

During sclerotherapy, a solution is injected into your veins, which irritates the vessel lining and causes them to swell shut. Over time, your veins will scar and fade. However, occasionally some of the injected solution can leak out of the vein. This can cause localized injury to surrounding tissue, resulting in bleeding and trapping of blood under the skin.

Factors that can increase your risk of developing a hematoma include:

  • Use of certain medications or supplements that impact clotting
  • Inherited clotting disorders
  • Very large varicose veins treated in one session
  • Coughing or movement during the procedure

Appearance of Trapped Blood

At first, small trapped blood spots look like minor bruises. But within a day, they can expand into sizeable, dark bruise-like patches or fluid-filled blisters. The areas appear reddish-purple, blue or black:

  • Bruise-like spots clustered near treatment sites
  • Boggy swelling and skin indentation
  • Mild inflammation but not across the whole leg
  • Discomfort ranges from none to moderate

Remember as alarming as this appears, it’s harmless and temporary. Still, it warrants some TLC to help the body naturally clear stagnant pockets of fluid and blood cells beneath the skin more quickly for comfortable healing.

Complications from Residual Blood

In most cases, the discomfort is temporary and the trapped blood will be reabsorbed by your body over time without issue. However, there is a risk that a sizable hematoma could lead to problematic venous thrombosis or skin infection.

See your doctor promptly if you experience any of the following:

  • Severe or worsening pain, swelling, warmth and redness
  • Ulceration of the skin
  • Drainage, bleeding, or oozing from the treatment site
  • Fever, nausea, or flu-like symptoms

These could be signs you’ve developed a serious complication that requires medical treatment.

How to Speed Up Blood Reabsorption and Healing

  1. Cold Compress Apply a cold pack or chilled gel pack to any lumps or bruises. The cold helps constrict blood vessels, slowing further leakage, reducing inflammation, and providing soothing relief. Ice for 10 minutes each hour initially when able.
  2. Elevation Raise your legs above the level of your heart whenever possible. Gravity will help drain residual blood from the veins. Lie down and prop your feet up higher than your heart on pillows.
  3. Compression Stockings
    Wear specialized gradient compression stockings designed to improve circulation and vein health. Compression helps evacuate blood trapped in veins and speeds overall drainage and healing. They also provide support to prevent complications like blood clots.
  4. Arnica Consider taking oral homeopathic arnica supplements or applying arnica gel. Some clinical research suggests topical arnica can be beneficial in resolving bruising caused by laser treatments and surgery. Both oral and topical versions may stimulate healing for sclerotherapy bruises as well.
  5. Bromelain and Rutin Some data indicate the enzyme bromelain derived from pineapple stems can minimize bruising after invasive treatments. It seems to exert anti-inflammatory and fibrinolytic effects. The bioflavonoid rutin may also strengthen veins and enhance healing. However, more research is needed. Still, they are generally considered safe, with little downside in trying them short-term under medical guidance in appropriate doses to ease your recovery.
  6. Patience
    While trying the measures above can help, the most critical factor is giving your body adequate time to reabsorb the escaped blood. It takes weeks to months for veins injured during sclerotherapy sessions to fully heal, regenerate, and strengthen. Be patient through the healing process.

When to Seek Medical Help

In nearly all cases conservative home treatment enables residual blood and bruising to clear within 4 to 12 weeks after sclerotherapy procedures. However, it’s important to follow up with your doctor promptly if you have any of the symptoms listed earlier that could signal complication risk.

Medical interventions your provider may use to treat troublesome hematoma cases include needle aspiration of pooled blood, prescription steroids to calm inflammation, or vascular laser therapy to destroy leaking veins fueling bleeding under the skin. Catching issues early makes treatment easier.

Key Steps to Resolve Trapped Blood After Sclerotherapy

Apply cold compress

  • Use cold packs or chilled gel packs
  • Ice for 10 minutes each hour to constrict blood vessels

Keep legs elevated

  • Raise legs above heart level
  • Lie down and prop your feet up to aid drainage

Wear compression stockings

  • Specialized gradient compression stockings
  • Improves circulation and speeds up drainage

Consider arnica supplements

  • Oral and topical arnica
  • Anti-inflammatory to help resolve bruising

Try bromelain and rutin (under guidance)

  • May have anti-inflammatory, anti-bruising effects
  • More research is needed on the efficacy

Allow months for full healing

  • Reabsorption of blood takes weeks to months
  • Be patient through the healing process

Methods to Clear Trapped Blood

Your body automatically reabsorbs trapped vein contents over weeks post-treatment. Physicians recommend these additional evidence-based steps to assist trapped blood drainage and faster resolution:

Compression Stockings

Gradient compression stockings between 20–30 mmHg pressure gently coax fluid out of stagnant tissue pockets and prevent pooling.

Blood Thinners

Medications that slightly thin circulating blood keep things moving out of swollen areas better without clotting risks.

Cold Compresses

Applying cold packs for 10 minutes constricts vessels, reducing inflammation and swelling that inhibits drainage.


Gently massaging discolored areas once daily helps shift trapped blood out of stagnant spaces into drainage channels underneath.

Heat After 48 Hours

Heat causes beneficial swelling reduction and vasodilation later on, improving the mobility of stuck fluid after acute swelling settles.

Leg Elevation

Positioning legs comfortably raised above hip level as much as possible every day enables gravity to pull fluid out of trapped blood sites.

Call Your Doctor If

  • Expanding heat and redness (a sign of infection)
  • Uncontrolled pain
  • No reduction after 7-10 days (scar tissue may need dissolving injections)


How long does trapped blood last after sclerotherapy?

Give it 7-14 days for the body to fully reabsorb and for discoloration to turn greenish-yellow. Bruise-like spots clear fastest. Avoid judging progress too soon when swelling gets worse before better.

Is trapped blood serious?

Visually, it appears concerning but medically it is benign like a bad bruise. The discoloration is not dangerous itself and no urgent treatment is required in most cases during recovery.

Can trapped blood permanently stain skin?

Maybe temporarily. Extensive bruises can initially leave brownish-discolored skin for months. But this hyperpigmentation ultimately fades as the outer skin layer regenerates itself every 40-56 days on average.

Do hot baths help clear trapped blood?

Avoid extreme heat initially. But after 48 hours, applying moderate dry heat starts to melt connective tissue fibers so debris can drain. Hot baths should be introduced cautiously later on once drainage channels develop.

Is bruising normal after the procedure?

Mild bruising often occurs and usually clears within 7 to 14 days without intervention. However, larger areas of skin discoloration or purplish trapped blood lying underneath in a lump are not expected outcomes and warrant attention to prevent complications.

How long does trapped blood last?

If small, it generally takes 2 to 6 weeks for a mild hematoma to be reabsorbed and dissipated. More extensive bleeding caught under the skin often takes 8 to 12 weeks to fully heal. Patience is needed as your body works to recycle the residual blood.

Can I travel after developing a hematoma?

It’s best to avoid air travel until any bruising or hematoma has mostly cleared (at least 90% gone). Pressure changes in flight cabins introduce risks if trapped blood or unhealed vein injuries exist. Walking, staying hydrated, and wearing flight socks can help. Discuss upcoming travel plans openly with your provider.

Do I have to miss work with this issue?

Most patients are able to resume normal routines including work right after sclerotherapy. However, taking time off can be wise if complications like the expansion of a sizable hematoma arise later causing substantial pain and impairment. Adapt activity as needed while monitoring the situation closely.

When should I worry about blood pooling under the skin?

You should worry if severe pain emerges, skin ulceration develops, fever mounts, or signs of infection crop up (redness, heat, discharge from the site). Likewise, be concerned if new bleeding or substantial expansion of a hematoma occurs more than 6 weeks after treatment. Contact your doctor promptly about concerning changes.

Last Words

Finding trapped blood along treated veins can be unsettling but represents a normal part of the sclerotherapy process. Trust your body to naturally reabsorb the leaked contents within 1-2 weeks, accelerated by gentle heat, massage, compression garments, and medication. Stay patient through the spectrum of bruising in order to achieve smooth, beautiful, vein-free legs permanently.


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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