What is Sclerotherapy: Overview, Benefits, and Expected Results

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What is Sclerotherapy? Overview, Benefits, ⁢and Expected Results

Sclerotherapy is a procedure used to ⁢treat varicose veins and ‍spider veins. It involves injecting a sclerosant⁢ solution directly into the‍ affected veins, which causes‍ them to ⁣swell and collapse.⁤ This closure of the vein prevents continued blood flow through it. The result is a smoother, healthier-looking complexion. The procedure is ‌relatively simple, and is typically performed‍ in-office with little‌ to ⁤no downtime.

In this article, ​we’ll provide an ‍overview of⁢ sclerotherapy, its benefits, and what ⁢patients can expect in terms of results.

What is ‌Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a ⁢medical procedure used to treat varicose veins and spider ‍veins. During the procedure, a ⁣sclerosant solution is injected directly into the affected veins,​ causing them to swell and ⁤collapse. This closure of⁢ the vein⁤ prevents continued blood flow through it. The result​ is smaller, less visible veins.

Types of Sclerosant Solutions

The sclerosant solution‌ used during‌ sclerotherapy is typically a combination of saline, glycerin, or hypertonic⁢ saline. It can⁣ also be combined with other products, such as⁤ polidocanol ⁤or ‍sodium tetradecyl​ sulfate.

Benefits of⁢ Sclerotherapy

Possible benefits of sclerotherapy include:

  • Less visible veins

  • A smoother appearance

  • Reduced risk of bleeding ‍or pain associated with⁢ varicose veins

  • A minimally invasive ⁣procedure

  • Little‌ to no downtime

  • High⁢ success rate

Who Is a Good Candidate for ​Sclerotherapy Treatment?

Individuals with mild to moderate​ varicose or spider veins are typically good candidates for⁢ sclerotherapy. Before proceeding with treatment,⁢ your doctor will evaluate your condition⁤ to ensure‌ you are a good⁣ candidate for the procedure.

What to Expect During & After Sclerotherapy Treatment

Sclerotherapy is typically done in-office. Before treatment, your doctor will apply a numbing cream to the area to help reduce any discomfort. During treatment, the sclerosant solution ‌will be injected directly into the vein. Multiple injections may be necessary to adequately treat an‌ area. After the‍ procedure, you may be asked to wear compression stockings or‍ bandages to help the treated veins heal.

In most cases, the ⁣treated veins will be undetectable after a few months. The exact timeline ​can ⁢vary based on the severity ‌of the condition and how your body responds to treatment.

Complications and Risks of Sclerotherapy

Like any medical procedure, sclerotherapy has some risks and potential side effects. The ‍most‌ common side effects are‌ temporary discoloration and redness in the treated area. Other risks include blood clots, phlebitis, and localized allergic⁤ reactions.

Bottom Line

Sclerotherapy is a relatively simple procedure used to treat varicose veins and spider veins. It involves injecting a ​sclerosant solution​ into the affected veins, causing them to swell and collapse. This closure of the vein prevents further blood flow ⁤through it. The ​result is ‍smaller, less ​visible veins and a⁣ smoother, healthier-looking complexion.

The procedure is relatively straightforward and typically‍ done in-office⁤ with no downtime. It is typically ⁣safe and has a high success rate. However, ⁤there are risks and potential‍ side effects, so make sure to discuss⁤ them with‍ your doctor before proceeding.⁤ With the right care and follow-up, patients ‌can ‌expect good results from sclerotherapy.

Definition & Overview

Sclerotherapy is an ultrasound-guided medical procedure that involves injecting a salt solution into a vein to cause it to shrink and collapse. Just like radiofrequency and laser ablation, it is used for the treatment of vascular and lymphatic malformations, such as spider and varicose veins and even haemorrhoids.

Who Should Undergo and Expected Results

As mentioned above, sclerotherapy is for patients with vascular or venous malformations such as spider and varicose veins and haemorrhoids. It is often prescribed when patients experience symptoms such as swelling, a burning sensation, and night cramps. It can also be offered to those who are bothered by the appearance of their spider or varicose veins.

The sclerosing solution used in the procedure gradually shrinks the affected veins and closes the feeder veins, thereby reducing the likelihood of recurrences. For this reason, sclerotherapy is widely preferred over laser therapy.

How is the Procedure Performed?

Prior to a sclerotherapy, the patient is subjected to a thorough physical examination, and the affected vein is carefully examined, usually with the use of ultrasound imaging, to rule out the presence of underlying blood vessel disease as well as existing medical conditions and allergies that may complicate the procedure.

The doctor then proceeds by using 30-gauge needles to inject the sclerosing agent precisely and slowly into the affected veins. Each injection delivers around 0.1 to 0.4 mL of the solution and is injected at an interval of 2 to 3 cm until the entire vessel has been treated.

There are three main types of sclerosants, namely:

Detergents, which disrupt the vein’s cellular membrane * Sodium tetradecyl sulfate, which is the most commonly used agent * Polidocanol * Sodium morrhuate * Ethanolamine oleate

Osmotic agents, which damage the cell by shifting its water balance * Hypertonic sodium chloride solution * Sodium chloride with dextrose

Chemical irritants, which damage the cell wall by destroying the endothelium * Chromated glycerin * Polyiodinated iodine

After the injection, the needle is carefully removed and the area is compressed with a bandage or a graduated compression stocking. Patients are then advised to perform exercises to strengthen their lower extremities, but should avoid aggressive movements for at least four weeks after the procedure.

Possible Risks and Complications

Although it is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can effectively get rid of varicose and spider veins, sclerotherapy can still cause some complications. These complications range from temporary side effects that resolve on their own without treatment to some more serious side effects that may necessitate further treatment.

Temporary side effects, which can take days, weeks, or sometimes even months or years to disappear completely, include:

  • Raised red areas
  • Small skin sores
  • Bruising
  • Multiple tiny red blood vessels that show through the skin
  • Darkened skin or pigmentation
  • Lines or spots in the skin

Meanwhile, more serious complications that require treatment include:

  • Blood clots
  • Inflammation
  • Allergic reaction to the solution used, which may cause urticarial or anaphylaxis
  • Air bubbles in the bloodstream
  • Oedema
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Myocardial infarction

Wearing graduated compression stockings with a strength of around 30 mm Hg will help reduce the risk of these serious complications from occurring. The stockings should be worn daily for up to 3 weeks, starting from the very first night following the procedure.


  • Alaiti, S. “Sclerotherapy treatment and management.” Medscape. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1271091-treatment#d12

  • Cheng D., Amin P., Thuong Van Ha. “Percutaneous sclerotherapy of cystic lesions.” Semin. Intervent. Radiol. 2012 Dec; 29(4): 295-300. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3577633/

  • Snow T., McEntee JP., Greaves SC., White HD. “Myocardial infarction following sclerotherapy in a patient with a patent foramen ovale.” The New Zealand Medical Journal. 2012 Nov; 125(1366). https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal/read-the-journal/all-issues/2010-2019/2012/vol-125-no-1366/cc-snow


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