If you’ve developed varicose veins or spider veins, you may be looking for a solution for these frustrating, unsightly, and uncomfortable veins. Varicose veins are large, bulging veins that appear on the legs. Spider veins are different in appearance—usually looking like thin lines. They are both caused by weakened vein valves which prevent proper blood flow, causing blood to pool. Fortunately, both types can be effectively treated with sclerotherapy.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally-invasive medical procedure that eliminates varicose and spider veins through the injection of a solution into the affected veins. The custom-formulated medication causes varicose veins and spider veins to seal off and resorb internally.

Once the unhealthy vein has collapsed, blood is rerouted to healthy veins. The collapsed vein becomes reabsorbed into surrounding tissue and the body’s immune system then eliminates the now unused vein through a natural process. Multiple veins can be treated in a single session and often multiple treatments are needed for best results.

This technique has been used for many years and is considered a very effective treatment for varicose veins and spider veins.

Who is Sclerotherapy Right For?

A trusted vascular specialist like Ali Golshan, MD can provide a thorough examination to determine if you’re a good candidate for sclerotherapy. In general, people who have spider veins or varicose veins who are bothered by their appearance or discomfort may want to consider sclerotherapy as a treatment.

People who are pregnant should not have sclerotherapy. If you have experienced blood clotting issues in the past, you may not be eligible, but your doctor can determine this on an individual basis.

How Does Sclerotherapy Work?

First, your doctor will provide an evaluation and identify the veins to be treated. Sclerotherapy is an in-office treatment and no anesthesia is required.

When you come in for the treatment, you’ll be placed on a treatment table in a reclining position, with your legs elevated. The area to be injected will be cleansed with an alcohol solution, in order to prevent infection. Since the procedure only requires tiny injection(s) and no large incisions, however, infection risk is low.

A very fine needle is inserted into the vein and the treating physician will sometimes use ultrasound guidance in order to target the treatment area. For spider veins, this imaging guidance is not always needed.

Once the solution is injected, the damaged veins will begin to shrink immediately. The procedure is usually completely pain-free. Sometimes a local anesthetic is used in order to minimize any pain or discomfort.

After the vein has been treated, the needle is removed. Compression and massages may be applied to the treatment area to disperse the sclerosing agent. In total, the procedure will only take from 15 to 30 minutes.

Allergic reactions to sclerotherapy are rare, but you will stay after the procedure for a short observation period before being able to return home.

Recovery and Outcomes from Sclerotherapy

varicose and spider veins

After a short observation period, you’ll be cleared to go home, wearing compression stockings, as recommended by your doctor. One of the great benefits of sclerotherapy is that there is almost no downtime following the procedure. Most people can return immediately to their regular daily activities. Patients do need to wear a compression stocking or dressing and refrain from exercise for 2 days post procedure.

Some after effects can include mild tenderness or bruising where the veins were treated. Some people experience mild itching or redness and swelling at the injection site, which should resolve in a few days. Pain medication is usually not necessary but if you do experience discomfort, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Even if you feel great and begin to see the benefits of sclerotherapy right away, be sure to follow all your doctor’s instructions. You’ll usually be advised to avoid excessive physical activity for 48 hours following the treatment.

Spider veins can be completely resolved in three to six weeks. Large veins may take up to a few months to dissolve and fade, and they may seem lumpy or hard after treatment until they are eliminated. Some people experience brown lines, spots or see new, tiny blood vessels at the site of treatment. These effects usually disappear within several weeks or months.

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience serious side effects, such as:

  • Sudden swelling of the leg
  • Ulcers at the site of injection

Sclerotherapy is an effective treatment that can reduce the number and appearance of treated veins. The majority of patients treated with sclerotherapy respond to therapy. If your varicose veins or spider veins do not respond to sclerotherapy your doctor can try a different concentration of medication for your treatment.

You’ll have a follow-up visit a few weeks to a month after the initial procedure. At that time, your doctor may schedule additional sessions if needed. Usually, you’ll wait at least four weeks between sclerotherapy sessions.

Schedule a Sclerotherapy Consultation

Ali Golshan, MD, is a leading vascular expert who specializes in nonsurgical vein treatments, like sclerotherapy, in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles. Dr. Golshan is a trusted expert in treating varicose veins, spider veins, and other vascular conditions.

To schedule a consultation with Dr. Golshan to talk about your options for varicose vein treatment, call Beach Wellness MD at 310-620-1851 or request an appointment.


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