What Is a Sclerotherapy Vein Treatment?

Sclerotherapy is designed to irritate the interior walls of spider veins and varicose veins so that they seal shut, preventing blood from entering the damaged pathway. It’s achieved by injecting a medical sclerosant into unhealthy veins to prompt their closure. As a result, blood is redirected to other functional veins, restoring optimal circulation.  

How Do Sclerotherapy Vein Treatments Work?

The purpose of sclerotherapy is to close malfunctioning veins so that blood flows efficiently back to your heart, rather than collecting in your veins. It improves your appearance, as well as your circulation, since the treated veins shrink from sight. Vein damage often stems from broken valves within your veins. By closing off these faulty pathways, we prevent blood from collecting in the vein, eliminating the formation of varicose and spider veins. 

This quick and gentle procedure begins with our doctors elevating your affected leg and cleansing the injection site. We then inject a sclerosant into the vein to intentionally damage the venous walls, causing them to swell and stick together. As the blood clots inside the irritated vein, the vein collapses, causing blood to flow into other veins that can transport it to the heart. Over time, the treated vein becomes scar tissue that fades until no longer visible. 

A sclerotherapy session in our California vein treatment center takes about 10 minutes for small spider veins. Larger varicose veins might take up to 30 minutes. After treatment, our doctors apply gentle pressure to the treated area to prevent blood from pooling in the vein as you stand. We recommend compression stockings for a few days after treatment to assist in restoring proper circulation. 

Do Sclerotherapy Treatments Hurt?

Sclerotherapy is essentially painless with our vein specialists, who are experts in minimally invasive procedures. Typically, our CA vein doctors only need to make one injection per vein to resolve the issue. Patients with extensive vein damage may need additional sessions. Since sclerosants are medical irritants, you might feel slight cramping or stinging at the injection site, but this will subside in a few seconds.

What are the Side Effects of Sclerotherapy?

Most of these side effects can be avoided completely if Sclerotherapy is performed by an experienced physician

The side effects of sclerotherapy treatments can include:

  • Mild pain from the injection
  • Temporary swelling
  • Allergic reactions (rare)
  • Nerve damage (rare)
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Capillary dilation (telangiectatic matting)
  • Vasovagal reflex
  • Skin damage (cutaneous necrosis, rare)
  • Arterial injection
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Migraine headaches

What are the Pros & Cons of Sclerotherapy Treatment?

Pros of Sclerotherapy for Varicose & Spider Vein Treatment

One tremendous advantage of sclerotherapy is that it’s an in-office procedure that doesn’t involve surgery or hospitalization. The non-surgical approach eliminates everything from anesthesia complications to infection, downtime, and scarring. It’s also much faster and more cost-effective than surgery and is typically covered by insurance.

Equally important is the fact that sclerotherapy has little to no impact on patients’ lifestyles. Most patients can resume working immediately, without waiting for recuperation. Sclerotherapy takes 30 minutes or less, compared to the multiple days, or even months, spent recovering from vein stripping surgery. If you’re seeking vein treatment in California, sclerotherapy is an excellent option. 

Cons of Sclerotherapy for Varicose & Spider Vein Treatment

No single treatment is right for every patient, and some veins aren’t suited to sclerotherapy. Patients with very large varicose veins might respond better to other procedures like VenaSeal or radiofrequency ablation, or a combination of methods.

If you have spider veins or small varicose veins, sclerotherapy is one of the best vein treatments in California. Ask our doctors if sclerotherapy is right for you. If it’s not, we’ll explain all of the other gentle options to treat your veins.

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