Varicose and spider veins are common problems that often don’t cause bothersome symptoms, but they can be unsightly. Whether you don’t like how these damaged veins appear beneath your skin or are experiencing symptoms such as aching, swelling, and burning, Dr. Eugene Tanquilut Tinley Park may recommend sclerotherapy. It is a common treatment for varicose and spider veins, which involves injecting a chemical solution into the affected vein. The solution irritates the vein walls, causing them to swell, clump together and seal shut, redirecting blood flow to healthier vessels.
Small veins tend to fade within three to six weeks, but larger veins may take several months.
How to prepare for sclerotherapy
Like any other treatment, you will consult your doctor to determine if sclerotherapy is the best approach to meet your cosmetic goals. Your healthcare provider will examine the veins you would like treated and further evaluates your veins to check for blood vessel disease. Images of the affected area may be captured before treatment and after.
Expect to discuss your medical history with your provider; information about your medical history includes recent illnesses or medical conditions, allergies, previous treatments for varicose veins, and medications you take. Medicines like aspirin, naproxen sodium, or ibuprofen have blood-thinning properties and should be avoided before sclerotherapy. If you use these medicines, your doctor will advise you how and when to stop taking them before treatment.
If your varicose or spider veins are causing symptoms, your healthcare provider may order an ultrasound test of the legs.
What to expect during sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy can take place in your doctor’s office and generally takes an hour or less. Before treatment, you should not shave your legs or apply lotion. It is also best to wear loose, comfortable clothing that offers easy access to the treatment area. You will lie on your back, with your legs slightly elevated, during the procedure. Your provider will clean the site to be treated and use a small needle to inject a solution into the vein.
You may feel minor stinging or cramping as the doctor inserts the needle into the vein. However, it should don hurt a lot; inform your provider if the pain is severe. Intense pain might result from the solution leaking into the surrounding tissue. Once the needle is out, your healthcare provider applies pressure to the area and massages it to spread the solution and keep blood out of the vessel. The number of injections you get depends on the number of veins your doctor treats. Veins that respond to sclerotherapy don’t return, but new veins can appear.
Your healthcare provider will encourage you to get up and walk after treatment so that blood clots don’t form. You may also need to wear compression garments for about two weeks to keep pressure on the treated veins. Avoid shaving your leg or using lotion until the site heals. You can resume regular activities on the same day, but you may need someone to drive you home.
If you have varicose or spider veins, consult your doctor at Vascular Specialists to know if sclerotherapy is the best approach.