What Is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure designed to treat spider and varicose veins. It involves injecting a chemical, called a sclerosing agent, directly into the affected vein. This irritates the lining of the blood vessels, causing the vein to shrink and eventually shut down. Overtime, this closed vein will fade and be absorbed by local tissue. Results can be expected a few weeks after treatment.
Aside from reducing the appearance of varicose and spider veins, sclerotherapy can be used to relieve accompanying symptoms such as aching and burning feelings in the legs, swelling and night cramps. The procedure is not suitable for those who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have blood clot issues. Sclerotherapy is also not applied if the affected vein can be used for future heart bypass surgeries.
Pros and Cons of Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy has its advantages and disadvantages. One of its pros is that the process is minimally invasive, not requiring surgery or any incisions. It is also conducted without anesthesia, and the treatment can be completed in less than an hour. There’s no need for much preparation before the surgery and for recovery. Typically, patients can resume their regular activities immediately after the operation.
On the other hand, sclerotherapy is ideal only for spider veins and small varicose veins. Laser treatments and surgery are still more effective when it comes to minimizing the appearance of larger and prominent veins. Sclerotherapy may also cause scarring and skin discoloration, depending on the concentration of the sclerosing agent injected. Other side effects include bruising, itching, redness and in rare cases, inflammation around the groin area and small ulcers.
The number of sessions for injection therapy depends on the amount and severity of the veins being treated.
What to Expect After Sclerotherapy
Being a very minimally invasive procedure, sclerotherapy treatments take no more than an hour, with patients able to go back to work or resume their normal activities immediately after. There is no downtime or lengthy recovery period.
Following the procedure, however, the patient is instructed to wear compressions socks or stockings for 24 hours except when bathing or sleeping. Tylenol may also be prescribed for pain relief. Hot baths, saunas, prolonged and direct sun exposure, aerobics and other intense exercises should also be avoided.
For small varicose and spider veins, it usually takes three to six weeks to see visible results. Larger veins take longer, requiring almost three to four months.
The doctor will also schedule follow-up sessions to check the progress of the injections, as well as determine if more treatments are necessary.
Montemayor Laser and Advanced Vein Care offers vein therapy services such as sclerotherapy in the Philippines. To schedule an appointment, call us at (02) 8706-0507.