Physicians consider sclerotherapy a convenient and highly successful vein treatment when a patient seeks to eliminate spider veins or small varicose vessels. Many individuals about to undergo the procedure wonder how they will feel after a session and when they will know if it was successful.
How Sclerotherapy Gets Rid of Unwanted Veins
To perform this treatment, a physician injects a special substance known as a sclerosant into each targeted abnormal blood vessel. In some cases, the use of ultrasound precisely guides the doctor during the session.
The chemicals in the sclerosant irritate the lining of the vein, causing the walls to become swollen, to adhere to each other, and to finally collapse. Eventually, the treated vessel becomes scar tissue and disappears. Healthy remaining veins nearby assume its circulatory workload.
This is an outpatient procedure usually performed in a physician’s office or in a vein clinic. The number of sessions required depends on the size and the location of the vessels selected plus the overall health of the patient. A session typically lasts 45 minutes or less.
What to Expect After This Vein Treatment
The Cleveland Clinic reports that it is possible to eliminate 50 to 80 percent of veins injected during a single session. More than 90 percent of individuals respond positively to the injections.
When the procedure targets spider veins, patients can expect to see results in 3 to 6 weeks. The interval for a response for larger vessels is between 3 and 4 months.
The physician will apply compression and massage the area treated immediately after withdrawing the needle used for the injection. The Mayo Clinic explains that this helps disperse the sclerosant and prevent blood from entering the treated vein.
Most patients experience little discomfort during a session. A cramping sensation that lasts up to two minutes is not uncommon during a varicose vein injection, according to the Radiological Society of North America, Inc.
After treatment, the staff encourages patients to walk around as soon as possible to avoid blood clots. Discharge orders include wearing compression stockings or wraps for a specified period.
Patients usually go home shortly after treatment. By the following day, most are able to go back to work and return to their normal daily routines, with the exception of exercise and any strenuous exertion.
The Mayo Clinic notes that patients will want to avoid exposing all treated areas to sunlight for a period specified by the physician. This is because the inflammatory response the injections cause can create dark spots on the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, particularly in individuals born with dark skin.
Patients should realize that no treatment will prevent the formation of new spider or varicose veins. For this reason, some individuals opt to return for additional vein treatment when new abnormal vessels develop.