If you’ve been contemplating seeking treatment for your spider veins, then you may come across the procedure called sclerotherapy.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a popular and effective treatment for spider veins. It involves the injection of an irritating solution (called the sclerosant) directly into the affected vein. This solution, which is typically a salt solution, irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to collapse and stick together. Over time, the treated vein becomes scar tissue and fades into view.
It doesn’t just improve the appearance of the spider veins but can also improve the related symptoms such as aching, burning sensation, and night cramps.
Angie Jacobs, the dedicated Sclerotherapy Nurse at Premier Surgical Vein Clinic in Knoxville uses this analogy for her patients, comparing the sclerotherapy procedure to the anatomy of a tree:
“If you think of your legs like a tree, you have the large veins (trunk), the branches (ones you can see), and the leaves (spider veins). The trunk leads to branches, and these lead to the leaves. I take my vein light and look for branches coming off of the trunk. The larger branches are injected first, and then the smaller veins that are leftover are injected last.”
“If you inject the leaves without cutting off the branches, the leaves are going to come back. If you get it at the branch, closer to the trunk, that helps prevent the leaves (spider veins) from returning.”
What can you expect during sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a minor procedure. It doesn’t require anesthesia and downtime.
During the procedure, you’ll be asked to lie on your back with your legs slightly elevated. The area to be treated will be cleaned with alcohol before our vein specialist injects the solution into the affected vein.
There can be some mild discomfort as the needle is inserted into the vein (if it’s more than just a mild sting, please inform your vein specialist as the solution may have leaked in the surrounding area).
Once the needle is withdrawn, a compression pad is placed on the injected site.
You will be advised to wear compression stockings for about 2 weeks after the procedure and asked to avoid the following for at least 48 hours:
- Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin and ibuprofen
- Hot baths or compresses
- Saunas or whirlpools
- Direct exposure to the sun
Is sclerotherapy right for me?
Sclerotherapy is often the treatment of choice for spider veins. It’s important to be seen for a vein screening to determine if sclerotherapy is right for you.
What other things patients should consider before getting sclerotherapy?
Here are other things Angie wants patients to know about sclerotherapy:
“It is important for someone who is considering undergoing sclerotherapy to be educated about the procedure so they know what to expect beforehand. Patients must also be dedicated to doing home care on their own that comes with it for the most successful results.
It is also important for patients to understand that sclerotherapy is not a quick fix. Spider veins don’t appear overnight and they are not going to disappear overnight. Diligent care post-treatment is necessary for the best results long term.”
Have more questions about sclerotherapy? You can request a free consultation online with Angie or call Premier Vein Clinic today at (865) 588-8229.