University of South Florida
Home
About Us
Site Map
Login
Patient Lobby
Join Our Newsletter
Click here to read about the partnership of USF with Medical Simulation Corp.
Search Our Site
Advanced Search
Join Our Newsletter
Click here to receive the latest vascular news delivered directly to your inbox.

Sclerotherapy
 
This is an abbreviated version of the complete article.*
Basic Facts
Sclerotherapy is a safe and effective method for eliminating problematic surface veins, such as spider veins and small varicose veins.
In this procedure, a solution is injected into the vein to cause a mild inflammatory reaction that causes the walls of the vein to stick together.
Over time, the collapsed vessel scars and permanently seals; blood flow automatically reroutes to healthy veins.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure used to treat diseased or cosmetically undesirable veins. Most commonly sclerotherapy is used for treatment of veins that are a cosmetic problem for the patient and do not carry any significant amount of blood flow. Sclerotherapy is a highly effective method for removing the fine clusters of veins that are often called "spider veins."

Large varicose veins generally are not treated with sclerotherapy because they have less likelihood of improvement than smaller veins.

In sclerotherapy (chemical sclerosis), the physician injects a chemical substance into the affected veins to harden (sclerose) the veins from the inside out. The veins are no longer able to fill with blood and form a hardened cord, which dissolves naturally and is reabsorbed by the body.

The procedure is performed in a physician's office, without a hospital stay.

WHAT TO EXPECT

A very small amount of a chemical solution is injected into the vein at several points through a fine needle. This sclerosing solution causes a mild inflammatory reaction in the vein walls, which then stick together. To keep the vein collapsed after injection, compression therapy is applied by tightly wrapping the area in elastic bandages.

The compression limits the amount of blood that forms clots inside the collapsed vessel and, over subsequent weeks, the vein turns into scar tissue, effectively making the vein disappear.

To improve effectiveness, sometimes sclerotherapy is combined with vein ligation, a simple procedure in which a vein is surgically tied off at the end of a diseased segment. The number of injections and sessions needed depends on the size and number of veins being treated. Treatment sessions usually take 30 to 45 minutes each.

POST TREATMENT

In the first hour or two following the procedure, walking or leg elevation may be recommended. To increase leg circulation and prevent blood clots, walking is usually recommended in the days following the procedure. With compression therapy, the treated areas are tightly wrapped with elastic bandages, or the patient may wear compression stockings with foam pads or cotton balls inserted over the treated areas to increase pressure at those points. Compression may be continued for up to two weeks following treatment.

POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS

Complications that may result from the sclerotherapy solution include:
  • Allergic reaction;
  • Staining of the skin from blood trapped in the vein;
  • Excess scarring, resulting in lumps near the vein; or
  • Leaking solution, producing an inflammatory reaction in nearby tissue.
Side effects or complications of the procedure may include:
  • Coagulated blood forming lumps, possibly leading to deep vein thrombosis;
  • Itching at the injection site;
  • Blistering and inflammation if tape or pads for compression are too tight;
  • Bruises near the injection site; or
  • Light brown discoloration along the skin surface where the vein used to be.
*If you would like to read this article in its entirety, please call our office and ask to meet with one of our specialists to receive a Prescription Pad form.

*If you already have a Prescription Pad form, please login and follow the instructions listed on the form. If you experience any issues during the registration process, please call member services at 1-800-603-1420 for assistance.
Copyright © 2014 NorthPoint Domain, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material cannot be reproduced in digital or printed form without the express consent of NorthPoint Domain, Inc. Unauthorized copying or distribution of NorthPoint Domain's Content is an infringement of the copyright holder's rights.
Medical Glossary
Word to look up:
The results will appear in a new window.

Sign Up!
Terms and Conditions   |   Feedback   |   Privacy Statement

Developed and hosted by Vascular Domain.
© Copyright 2000-2014. NorthPoint Domain Inc. All rights reserved.
ICS-PR-WEB02