Sclerotherapy treatment – sounds as though it belongs in a science fiction novel, but it’s actually a technique used to treat varicose and spider veins. This method has a lot of advantages for both patients and doctors. Here’s what you need to know about sclerotherapy, courtesy of Metro Vein Centers in Houston.
A Quick Review on Veins
You probably know that blood vessels are the transport system in the body, with arteries running from the heart to the extremities and veins going the other direction. What you might not know is that veins need a little help to do their job. Blood traveling through the arteries is pumped by the heart muscle. Blood coming back from the veins relies on muscle contractions in the legs, plus tiny flaps of tissue called valves, to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. Varicose veins occur when these valves weaken or fail; blood pools in the veins and they become distended and twisted. Spider veins are also varicose veins, but very small ones.
What is Sclerotherapy Treatment?
Sclerotherapy is the medical term for a treatment that actually scars the veins closed. “Sclero” means scar. When veins are irritated, they tend to swell, collapse and scar shut. This is the basis for sclerotherapy treatment. The doctor injects a special solution into the vein that causes irritation. The veins react with swelling and then collapse. Eventually, the collapsed vein is absorbed into the surrounding tissue. Sclerotherapy treatment is the gold standard in treating spider veins, because they are too small to use many other techniques. It may also be used to treat smaller varicose veins.
What’s Sclerotherapy Treatment Like?
You’ll lie on your back with your legs elevated. The doctor will cleanse the skin carefully and then inject the special solution with a very fine needle. Some people report stinging or minor cramps when the solution is injected, but the procedure is not generally painful. After the needle is removed, the doctor will massage the area and may apply a compression bandage. If the treatment is for the legs, you’ll wear compression stockings for a couple of weeks afterward. You should avoid sun exposure on the treated areas for several weeks to prevent darkened skin.
What Are the Advantages of Sclerotherapy Treatment?
Sclerotherapy treatment is an office-based, minimally invasive procedure. It is quick – sometimes as little as an hour – and there is no downtime. You can resume your normal activities almost immediately, with the exception of strenuous exercise. The most likely side effects are bruising and swelling but both are usually minor. Once the veins have been absorbed, they literally disappear.
If you have varicose veins or spider veins and are considering treatment, contact us at Metro Vein Centers. Our doctors can assess your condition and suggest a treatment that is right for you (we offer other treatments as well as sclerotherapy). Be advised that for spider vein treatment – which is considered a cosmetic procedure – your insurance may not cover sclerotherapy treatment.