Sclerotherapy and Ultra-Sound Guided Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is a treatment in which a chemical solution, known as a sclerosing agent, is injected at several points along spider and varicose veins.
How Sclerotherapy works
Sclerotherapy is a well-proven procedure used since the 1930s. It is commonly performed with liquid or foam medications (such as sodium chloride--a salt solution, or sotradecol--a detergent) that irritate the lining of the veins. Compression is used after treatment, causing the irritated vein walls to collapse. For veins that are difficult to visualize, ultrasound can be used to guide sclerotherapy injections. This procedure is called ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.
Over time, the veins will be absorbed by the body, restoring a smoother, more youthful appearance.
Like other vein removal therapy, a series of treatments are usually required to achieve the desired results.
Difference between liquid and foam Sclerotherapy
Foam sclerotherapy is a new form of delivering the sclerosing agent. The use of foam allows us to treat larger varicose veins that might be unsuccessfully treated with conventional liquid sclerotherapy. The foam solution has the consistency of ‘shaving cream’, which improves treatment in two distinct ways.
First, the foam displaces blood within the vein, permitting the full strength of the sclerosing agent to be in direct contact with the vein wall for an extended period of time without any dilution effects. Second, the foam is visible via ultrasound imaging and can be easily tracked and guided to the source of the venous problem. For large veins, foam is used in conjunction with ultrasound imaging.
Conditions that can be Treated
Sclerotherapy can significantly reduce the appearance of most spider veins and some small varicose veins, but larger varicose veins may be more effectively treated by EVLT. Vascular/pigmented lesion lasers may more effectively treat smaller thread-like broken capillaries.
The Best Candidates
Studies at The Cleveland Clinic report that sclerotherapy may eliminate as many as 80 percent of targeted spider, reticular and small varicose veins during a single injection session. Sclerotherapy achieves good results for the majority of patients, with less than 1 in 10 patients failing to respond to the injections.
Patients, who are pregnant, have had a recent blood clot, have an arterial occlusive disease, or who are in poor general health are not good candidates for sclerotherapy.
In your complimentary consultation, your health history will be discussed, along with your goals for the outcome of the procedure.
Your evaluation includes a visual and physical examination of the legs and feet by our Medical team, who checks for inflammation, areas that are tender to the touch, changes in skin color, ulcerations and other signs of skin breakdown.
In some cases, an ultrasound test will be ordered to determine if the valves in the veins are functioning properly and to check for evidence of a blood clot.
Following that, your treatment alternatives will be discussed. Options will include sclerotherapy, EVLT, and vascular/pigmented lesion lasers.
How Sclerotherapy is performed
Sclerotherapy does not require anesthesia. The procedure typically takes about 15 to 30 minutes, but the exact length of time depends on the size of the area and the number of veins being treated.
Depending on its size, a single vein may have to be injected more than once. Treatment must be performed weeks or months apart. Multiple veins may be injected during one treatment session.
During the procedure, you will lie on your back with your legs slightly elevated. Our Medical team will cleanse the area to be treated before inserting a solution into the targeted vein with a fine needle. You may experience some minor stinging or cramps when the needle is inserted into the vein. The solution causes the vein walls to swell, stick together and seal shut, stopping the flow of blood. The vein will typically fade within a few weeks.
After the injections, a nurse will apply compression and massage the treated area to keep blood out of the injected vein and disperse the solution. A compression pad may be taped onto the injection site to keep the area compressed.
Following your procedure
After the treatment, you will be able to drive yourself home and resume your regular daily activities. Walking is strongly encouraged. You will be instructed to wear medical grade support hosiery to “compress” the treated vessels.
Although this procedure works for most patients, there are no guarantees for success.
In general, spider veins respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins respond in three to four months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before. If needed, you may return for further injections.
* Photos represent actual patient results. Individual results may vary;
Please consult with your injecting physician to determine what results you may expect.