Sclerotherapy is a procedure designed to improve the appearance of your varicose veins or spider veins. The veins are injected in Dr O’Donnells rooms with a solution called a sclerosant. The sclerosant damages the internal lining of the vein, causing it to close off.
The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and may require ultrasound scan guidance as determined by Dr O’Donnell. Several treatments may be required, depending on the amount of venous disease in your leg. These treatments will be done over the course of several weeks or months. Sclerotherapy is successful in eliminating 60-80% of injected veins. You will be required to wear your compression stockings for 1 week after the procedure. We encourage walking for approximately 30 minutes immediately after your sclerotherapy to reduce your risk of deep venous thrombosis. Strenuous exercise like cycling, running, swimming etc should be avoided for a minimum of 1 week after sclerotherapy.
Potential complications of sclerotherapy include:
- Superficial thrombophlebitis: this is inflammation of the injected vein walls and can feel like hard lumps. It is due to blood clotting. This blood clotting can cause irritation, redness and pain around the treated vein. It usually settles with anti inflammatory tablets. This can sometimes take several weeks.
- Brown pigmentation & matting of the skin: this can occur in 10% of patients but is usually temporary and fades after several months.
- Deep venous thrombosis & subsequent clots to the lungs: these are very rare but can occur. It is why we encourage patients to walk after the procedure and wear their compression stockings; these both help reduce this risk.
- Skin ulceration: very rare at <0.5%
- Allergic reactions: rare but anaphylaxis & granuloma formation has been described
- Residual or recurrent varicose veins