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Why It’s Done

What is Sclerotherapy?

Varicose veins are abnormally large veins commonly seen in the legs. They occur when the valves that allow the blood to return from the legs leak. This allows the blood to pool in the veins and enlarge them.

Spider veins are dilated capillaries on the skin, resembling spider legs.

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins with the injection of a solution directly into the vein. Our vein center is a pioneer in Houston for the use of foam sclerotherapy, as the solution is an evolution that has been shown to be highly effective.

Description

A foam solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. At this point, a patient may experience mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes. The procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes.

The number of veins injected in one session depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as the general medical condition of the patient.

Risks

What Are the Possible Risks of the Procedure?

If you notice any of the following side effects, please let us know immediately:

  • Inflammation within five inches of the groin
  • A sudden onset of a swollen leg
  • Formation of small ulcers at the injection site

Before the Procedure

Taking Medication

You should report all medications you are taking, including herbal supplements. If you need to take an antibiotic before sclerotherapy, contact your doctor.

We recommend avoiding aspirin, ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory drugs for 48 to 72 hours before sclerotherapy. However, tylenol should not affect this procedure.

Do not discontinue any of your medications without first talking to your health care provider. Ask your doctor which medications you should stop taking and when to stop taking them.

How to Prepare

Do not put lotion on your legs before the procedure.

After the Procedure

What to Expect After the Procedure

After sclerotherapy, you will be able to drive yourself home and resume your regular daily activities. It is encouraged to walk and carry on with your normal activities. You will be instructed to wear support hosiery to compress the treated vessels.

The injection sites may be washed with a mild soap and tepid water.

Following the injection(s), avoid aspirin, ibuprofen, or other anti-inflammatory drugs for at least 48 hours. Tylenol may be used if needed.

In addition, you should avoid the following for 48 hours after treatment:

  • Hot baths
  • Hot compresses
  • Whirlpools or saunas
  • Direct exposure to sunlight
  • Showers are permitted, but the water should be cooler than usual
  • Any aerobic activity

After the procedure, side effects may include:

  • Itching
  • A raised, red area at the injection site
  • Larger veins that have been injected may become lumpy and hard
  • Brown lines or spots at the vein site
  • Neovascularization (development of new, tiny blood vessels)

How You Will Feel After the Procedure

After the procedure, side effects may include:

  • Itching
  • A raised, red area at the injection site
  • Larger veins that have been injected may become lumpy and hard
  • Brown lines or spots at the vein site
  • Neovascularization (development of new, tiny blood vessels)

The Effectiveness of Sclerotherapy

In general, spider veins respond in 3 to 6 weeks, and larger veins respond in 3 to 4 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 injections.

Studies have shown that as many as 50% to 80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy.

Less than 10% of the people who have sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all. In these instances, different solutions can be tried. Although this procedure works for most patients, there are no guarantees for success.