Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure that has been used for over 80 years. It is used to remove varicose veins and spider veins. The relatively straight-forward procedure involves an injection into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together and the blood to clot. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.
A consultation with a dermatologist or vascular specialist will determine if sclerotherapy is right for you. It is not recommended if you are pregnant or if you have had a blood clot in the past.
Sclerotherapy is performed by a dermatologist or a surgeon and the procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes. The number of veins injected in one session varies, and depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as your general medical condition.
The injection is usually a salt solution which is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. At this point, you may experience mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes, especially when larger veins are injected.
Mild side effects have been reported, such as itching, which can last for one or two days after the procedure. You may also experience raised, red areas at the injection site. These should disappear within a few days. Occasionally the injection site may bruise also.
Be aware that larger veins may become lumpy and hard and this may take several months to dissolve and fade. Brown lines or spots may appear at the vein site – in most cases, they disappear within three to six months.