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Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure that is used to treat varicose and spider veins. Both varicose and spider veins develop as a result of venous insufficiency caused by weakened or damaged valves in the veins. The small valves inside the vein stop functioning properly and the blood starts to fall the wrong way down the leg causing the damage. It can cause a variety of symptoms and the spider veins can make people feel self-conscious about the appearance of their legs.
This procedure involves injecting irritating solution called a sclerosant into a vein, which irritates the vessel and makes the vessel shrink, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins.
This method is often used for cosmetic reasons to improve the appearance of varicose and spider veins. Sclerotherapy can be also used for treating small varicose veins and to improve related symptoms to unhealthy veins such as aching, swelling, burning and night cramps.
Who is it suitable for
✔ Patients diagnosed with varicose veins
✔ People suffering from pain, cramps, swelling legs
✔ Patients with visible lumps on their legs as a result of varicose veins
✔ Patients will need to do duplex ultrasound before proceeding with this treatment
✔ Usually takes about 30 minutes but can be longer
✔ It is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients can go home same day
✔ Most people can expect to return to work and their daily activities straight after the procedure
✔ It is advised to avoid strenuous exercises for 3-5 days after treatment to allow time for healing
✔ Mild discomfort and bruising should resolve within two to six weeks
✔ Patients will need wear compression stockings
Before The Treatment
Before the treatment you will need to meet with your doctor to discuss your situation and to perform an examination:
• Medical history - You should provide a complete medical history including your past and current medical conditions, chronic illnesses such as heart, allergies, past history of blood clots and any previous vein treatments.
• Medication review - Prepare to provide a list of medications that you might be taking including prescription drugs, supplements, over the counter medication and anything else that you are taking regularly, in particular any blood thinner medication.
• Examination - A doctor will do an examination of your veins and potential underlying blood vessel disease.
• Duplex ultrasound - You doctor is likely to request ultrasound imaging on the veins in your legs.
The day before the treatment, you should avoid shaving or applying any lotion to your legs.
What does it involve?
Generally the following is involved:
• This procedure is generally performed without anaesthetic.
• Sometimes this procedure is guided by ultrasound scanning.
• Your doctor will make access to the veins by inserting a tiny catheter or a needle, which will be delivering an irritating solution.
• The solution irritates the vessel and makes the vessel shrink, forcing blood to reroute through healthier veins.
• A bandage may be applied to reduce swelling and bruising.
• Anticoagulation therapy is sometimes prescribed after the treatment to avoid blood cloths
The superglue procedure usually takes 30 minutes but may take longer.
After the treatment
Sclerotherapy is performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning that patients can go home same day and resume their normal daily activities. Most patients experience little to no pain after the treatment. However, some patients can experience discomfort which should resolve within two to six weeks. It is common to have the following symptoms after this procedure:
• small skin sores
• darkened skin in the form of lines or spots
• tiny red blood vessels
It is advised to avoid strenuous exercises for 3-5 days after treatment to allow time for healing. Patients will need wear compression stockings for one or two weeks. It is recommended to avoid sun exposure to the treated areas during your recovery because the sun exposure can lead to dark spots on your skin.
Sclerotherapy is considered safe and effective solution but may require multiple treatments to see the full effect of the treatment. This procedure may not be suitable for pregnant women. Serious complications are very rare. However, as with any other medical procedure there are some risks:
• bruising and hematoma
• blod clots
• air bubbles
• allergic reaction
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