Varicose veins can not only be unsightly and embarrassing, but they can often cause pain, swelling, and discomfort as well. One method used to treat varicose veins and spider veins is sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy consists of injecting a chemical solution directly into the damaged vein, causing the lining of the blood vessel to swell, seal shut, and eventually fade away. Consult with a podiatrist to determine if this non-invasive procedure is an option to treat your varicose or spider veins. Sclerotherapy for varicose veins

Candidates for Sclerotherapy

Those with varicose veins or spider veins can meet with their podiatrist for an evaluation to determine if they are a candidate for sclerotherapy. A podiatrist will check for any underlying condition that may contribute to the pain and appearance of the veins and evaluate them for sclerotherapy.

People not eligible for the procedure include those who are:

  • Pregnant
  • Breastfeeding
  • Bedridden

In addition, if you have delivered a child within the last three months, you will need to wait to have sclerotherapy done. Those with a history of blood clots will need a health assessment to check if they are able to have sclerotherapy. If you take birth control pills, you are able to have the procedure.

Not all veins will be considered for injection. If there is a vein that may be used for a future procedure, it will not be used for sclerotherapy.

Treating Varicose Veins With Sclerotherapy

Before the procedure, you may have to follow specific instructions. Some doctors may recommend that you stop taking certain medications such as aspirin or ibuprofen to minimize the risk of bleeding. You may need to avoid applying lotion to your legs and refrain from shaving your legs. This can help reduce irritation from the procedure.

Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure that can be done in a doctor’s office and does not require the use of anesthesia. The procedure consists of injecting a solution into the varicose vein using a fine needle. More than one vein may be injected depending on the location and size of the veins and the patient’s overall condition. When the veins are injected, you may feel slight discomfort and cramping for a few minutes.

Once sclerotherapy is completed, you can drive yourself home. Patients are encouraged to walk and go back to their daily activities. Wearing compression stockings may be recommended . These socks compress the treated veins and help with healing. Other instructions you may need to follow include:

  • Avoiding hot baths and soaks. Shower using cooler water, and wash the injection site with a mild soap.
  • Not taking aspirin or ibuprofen. Acetaminophen can be used for pain management.
  • Not applying a heating pad or hot compresses to the injection site.
  • Avoiding direct sunlight and tanning beds.

Possible Side Effects and Complications

To eliminate all of the varicose veins, you may need several sclerotherapy sessions. Smaller veins respond best to the injections, and you can expect to see improvement after a few weeks. Larger veins may take up to four months or more to see signs of improvement. Most patients can expect a decrease in pain and other symptoms.

Possible sclerotherapy side effects may include:

  • Injected veins may get hard or lumpy before they improve.
  • The injection site area may be raised or red, and bruising may appear.
  • If a form of iron releases from the blood in the treated veins, brown lines or spots may appear. These may disappear but, in rare cases, may be permanent.
  • Formation of tiny blood vessels may appear in the area of the treated vein. These are temporary flares that fade after a few months.
  • Itching and swelling may develop indicating a non-serious allergic reaction to the injection solution.

Signs that you may need to seek immediate medical attention are:

  • Swelling near the groin area
  • Red streaking in the groin area
  • Small sores near the injection site

Contact a Podiatrist for an Evaluation

If you suffer from painful varicose veins and are looking for treatment, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. To schedule an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our convenient online contact form, or call our office today.