Sclerotherapy is a medical treatment where a doctor injects a solution directly into your blood vessels or lymph vessels, that causes them to shrink. It’s mainly used to treat varicose veins or what are commonly known as spider veins. Sclerotherapy uses a irritating solution called a sclerosant, which is injected into a vein or lymph vessel. This solution irritates the vessel, and causes it to swell. The swelling cuts off the blood flow or lymphatic fluid, which causes the vessel to shrink.
How successful is the treatment? This treatment works very well for patients. It is estimated that over 50 to 80 percent of injected veins are eliminated with each injection session. Very few people who have Sclerotherapy do not respond to the injections at all, roughly 10 percent of people. In these rare instances, different methods such as laser therapy, can be used.
Varicose veins happen when the veins swell and bulge, usually in the legs. This is due to weak vein walls that weaken the vein valves. Because of this, blood pools up the veins, causing them to swell and look different. The veins can become painful and cause skin issues like rashes. By shrinking the veins, Sclerotherapy reduces the effects of vein damage, while making the veins less visible and reducing the pain immensely.
Varicose Veins are the main condition that’s treated by Sclerotherapy, but it’s not the only one. Some other conditions that can be treated include:
Hemorrhoids. Sclerotherapy is used when other treatments fails. Hemorrhoids occur when blood vessels surrounding the rectum, swell and become irritated. This causes terrible pain and makes bowel movements difficult.
Malformed Lymph Vessels. These vessels carry lymphatic fluid, which helps the immune system fight infections. Extremely important for your health.
Hydroceles. Hydrocele’s are an unhealthy development of fluid in a body cavity. Typically they are common in the testicles.
Sclerotherapy treatment begins in the doctors office, and does not require anesthesia. The procedure takes 15 minutes to an hour to complete, depending on how extensive the vein damage is. Patients lie down flat on their bag, and elevate their legs. After the affected area is treated and cleaned with alcohol, the doctor uses a needle to inject a salt solution directly in the vein. This can cause some minor discomfort for a minute, along with slight cramping.
The discomfort of the injected solution will subside quickly. This solution causes the treated vein to collapse, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins. The collapsed vein is reabsorbed into nearby tissue and eventually disappears. Once the needle is removed, compression is applied to the area to keep blood out of the injected vessel and to disperse the solution. The number of injections depend on the size of the vein.
Spider veins will respond to Sclerotherapy within three weeks to a little over a months, while larger veins can take three to four months. Veins that respond to treatment will not reappear, so you can rest assured in that regard. Studies on Vein Treatment for spider veins have proven a success rate of 50 to 80 percent in treatment. If new veins appear over time, you can return for additional injections whenever needed. A follow up visit will hep you decide on how to proceed.