Many patients want to get rid of unsightly and sometimes uncomfortable spider and varicose veins but are concerned about possible associated risks. Understanding the basics of sclerotherapy treatment and its risk factors can help them determine whether this procedure is something they want to pursue.
This treatment has been used in the United States since the 1930s, the Cleveland Clinic reports. An outpatient procedure, it typically takes place in a Houston vein clinic. Healthcare professionals consider it the gold standard for getting rid of spider veins. It is also useful as a varicose vein treatment when the earmarked blood vessels are small.
Physicians begin the procedure by cleansing the area to be treated. Sometimes they rely on ultrasound to help locate veins. Using a very fine needle, a physician injects a special product known as a sclerosant or sclerosing agent into the targeted vein. The number of vessels treated per session depends on their size and location and the patient’s general health.
The agent used is either a foam or a liquid. It irritates the vein’s lining and causes it to stick together. The vein eventually closes, disappears from view, and is absorbed by the body. Patients generally see results for spider veins within six weeks and for larger vessels, within four months. A majority of patients see a 50- to 90-percent improvement after a session, according to Stony Brook Medicine.
Risk Factors for This Houston Vein Treatment
Gone are the days when the standard treatment for abnormal vessels in the legs was vein stripping, which was a severe procedure compared to current options. Houston vein doctors consider sclerotherapy a non-invasive treatment. The Mayo Clinic indicates that it is a safe procedure accompanied by few complications.
Potential temporary side effects include:
- Areas that are red and raised
- Small skin sores
- Spots or lines of darkened skin
- Tiny red blood vessels
Should any of these occur, it usually disappears within several weeks. The Cleveland Clinic adds that larger vessels might become hard or lumpy, a condition that typically resolves within several months.
Some possible side effects might require medical treatment:
- Inflammation around the site of the injection
- A blood clot in a treated vein
- Air bubbles in the bloodstream
- An allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent
It is important to note that no treatment for spider or varicose veins can prevent the formation of new vessels. For that reason, some patients return to vein doctors for periodic sclerotherapy sessions or other types of treatment.
One of the greatest benefits of sclerotherapy is how quickly patients are able to resume their normal routines. They should expect to wear compression stockings for a specified period after the procedure. Aside from avoiding strenuous activity, most are able to return almost immediately to regular daily schedules.