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What to Expect During and After Sclerotherapy Treatment

Not all types of varicose or spider veins are created equally, which is why there are a number of effective, advanced treatments available. Sclerotherapy treatment, also called 'microfoam injections' is the #1 FDA-approved treatment of choice for spider veins and for small varicose veins. If your vein doctor has recommended sclerotherapy for you, there are a few things you’ll probably want to know about the treatment itself and about what happens afterwards.

1. A Quick Treatment

The sclerotherapy treatment itself doesn’t take very long. Usually, the process takes anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes and can be done in a doctors office. It involves lying down with your legs elevated. The vein doctor will use a syringe of medicated microfoam called polidocanol to inject the affected veins. The solution is causes the veins to seal off and eventually be reabsorbed by your body.

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2. A Few Side Effects

Sclerotherapy is FDA-approved and has been the gold standard for spider vein treatment for many years. It is extremely rare to have serious side effects but a few temporary side effects can occur. Since the chemical solution injected into your veins is meant to irritate the veins, some people do feel a bit of discomfort, such as stinging or cramping, in the treated area. You might also feel a pinch when the needle is inserted into the vein.

After treatment, mild side effects might occur, such as bruising or a darkening of the skin near the treated area. These side effects usually resolve on their own after a few days. In rare cases, discoloration of the skin near the treatment area can last for weeks or even indefinitely afterwards.

There are a few rare, potentially serious side effects of sclerotherapy that you should know about. These include blood clots and air bubbles in the blood stream. Your vein doctor can treat a blood clot by draining the vein. Air bubbles usually resolve on their own, but can make you feel temporarily nauseated or faint.

3. A Short Recovery Time

The recovery period after sclerotherapy typically doesn’t have much effect on people’s lives or schedules. It’s advised that you get up and walk a bit right after the treatment, to help the blood flow through the veins and to minimize the risk for blood clots. You’ll be able to get back to work or other regularly scheduled activities the next day.

Your doctor will most likely recommend that you wear compression stockings for a few weeks after treatment and that you avoid sun exposure. The stockings will put a gentle pressure on the legs, allowing the treated veins to fade and helping to keep new spider veins from forming.

While recovery is short, it does take a few weeks for the spider veins to cosmetically dissapear. While initially it may look like the spider veins dissapear immediately, they stay red for a few weeks and begin to fade. 

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4. Multiple Treatments Might Be Needed

Depending on the size and area of your spider veins and how many you have, you may need a series of sclerotherapy treatments.  The treatments are often spaced a few weeks apart. Even after a series of treatments, it can take as long as two months before the final results from sclerotherapy are visible. However, once results are achieved they do last a long time, although they are not permenant. 

One thing to keep in mind is that sclerotherapy treatment is only cosmetic. It will not help with other symptoms related to the more serious venous insufficiency that causes varicose veins. It is important to talk to your vein doctor about what to expect and if medical vein disease treatment is important to do beforehand. If the underlying cause of the spider veins is not treated, the veins will come back over time. 

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Sclerotherapy Spider Vein Treatment Results 

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Patients often get amazing results with sclerotherapy. Metro Vein Center’s Houston, Texas practice location offers sclerotherapy, as well as a number of other vein treatment options. If you’re ready to say goodbye to your spider veins, contact us today to schedule a consultation.