Sclerotherapy / Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
Vein Treatment Options
Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat painful, unsightly varicose and spider veins. These veins are treated by injecting a solution of Sotradecol™ or Asclera™ directly into the damaged veins, causing irritation and eventual collapse of the vein, which is then absorbed by the body. These solutions are FDA approved, and are painless at injection, making them extremely well tolerated by patients. Sclerotherapy has been used on patients across the world since the 1930s and remains the primary effective treatment for varicose and spider veins, superior to surface laser treatments for spider veins in the vast majority of patients. At East Bay Vein Center, Dr. Brar uses the Syris headlamp with polarizing light with magnification as well as the Veinlite to aid in precise visualization of the spider veins and their feeder veins, thus allowing for much more precise treatment.
Sclerotherapy is performed in the doctor’s office and a single treatment session is 30 minutes long. No anesthesia is needed for this quick and simple procedure. The skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution and sclerosant is then injected into the affected veins with a very fine needle. Most patients experience only a tiny pinprick sensation from the extremely fine needle, however the medication is painless upon injection. The number of injections made during each session depends on the number and length of the damaged veins. Typically, one injection is made for every inch of spider vein. Graduated compression stockings (typically thigh high and available through our office) are placed on the patient’s treated leg(s). The patient is advised to wear these for 3 weeks while awake to maximize the cosmetic outcome and to minimize any potential side effects.
Recovery and Results of Schlerotherapy
Patients can return home shortly after sclerotherapy, and most can return to work and other normal activities the same day. Exercise and other strenuous activities should be avoided for 7 to 10 days. Compression and support bandages may need to be worn for a few days after the procedure, and some patients may experience mild bruising and pigmentation after sclerotherapy. These side effects usually subside on their own after a few days.
Since bruising may occur, it may be a few weeks before the true results of sclerotherapy are visible. Results are usually fully visible after 3 to 6 weeks. It is reported that up to 80 percent of damaged veins can be eliminated during each sclerotherapy session. Most patients are satisfied with the results of this procedure. Patients can help preserve the results of sclerotherapy and prevent new veins from appearing by maintaining an active life after the procedure.
What are the Risks of Sclerotherapy?
Although sclerotherapy is a safe procedure that has been successfully performed for many years, there are certain risks and side effects associated with any medical procedure. Some of these side effects include lumpy, hard veins, raised red areas, brown lines or spots, swelling, allergic reactions or infection. Your doctor will discuss these side effects with you and answer any other concerns you may have about the sclerotherapy procedure.
Most patients with spider or varicose veins are good candidates for sclerotherapy, although the procedure should not be performed on pregnant women or patients who have had a blood clot in the past. If you are interested in the sclerotherapy procedure, please call us today to schedule a consultation.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is a procedure in which Dr. Brar treats abnormal veins beneath the skin’s surface with sclerotherapy using the ultrasound to visualize these veins. These abnormal veins are generally not amenable to treatment with the endovenous laser for a variety of reasons. The same medication that is used for visual sclerotherapy is used for this procedure, but typically in its foam form. This procedure is technically more difficult to perform compared to visual sclerotherapy, and carries a few more extremely rare risks (intra-arterial injection, nerve trauma, deep vein thrombosis, etc) that Dr. Brar will review with you before the procedure, as she has years of experience. The patient can return to regular activities the same day (with no vigorous exercise advised for 7 days), and stockings are worn for 3 weeks. This procedure is well tolerated by patients with good to great results.