Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that is effective in treating varicose veins and spider veins. In this procedure, a solution called sclerosant is injected directly into the damaged veins to eliminate them.
If you have been having problems with varicose veins and spider veins and have been advised to get this procedure done, it will be helpful for you to understand how it works and what you need to do before the treatment. In the sections below, we will explore more about sclerotherapy and what you can expect throughout the whole process.
How does sclerotherapy work?
As mentioned earlier, sclerotherapy is a treatment that does not involve any form of surgery. The whole process can be finished in as fast as 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of your condition.
Once the damaged veins are properly identified and located, your doctor will start the procedure by cleaning the skin around the targeted veins. Using a fine needle, these targeted veins will be injected with a sclerosant, which is usually a salt solution, to close off their walls. Blood will then be redirected to other unaffected veins, and the damaged veins that are shut off will be absorbed by your body so that they become less visible.
Aside from this, sclerotherapy also helps in reducing the pain or discomfort that is caused by these damaged veins.
What do I need to do before my sclerotherapy?
Once you have been scheduled for a sclerotherapy treatment, your doctor will advise you to avoid anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin for at least one week before your schedule because these can interfere with the effect of the sclerosing agent and cause severe bruising.
Additionally, you should avoid shaving or applying lotion to your legs before the procedure to decrease the chances of irritation. Bring comfortable shorts to wear as well as loose-fitting pants or a long skirt to put on after the treatment.
It is also advisable to have compression stockings ready for use after your procedure. You will have to wear these for at least two weeks to maintain compression on the treated veins.
What should I do after sclerotherapy?
Aside from wearing compression stockings for two weeks following your treatment, you should also avoid straining your legs through contact sports or aerobic exercises for at least ten days. However, moderately paced walks for thirty minutes are advised. Additionally, it is best to avoid warm baths, saunas, and sunbathing for at least two days.
Does sclerotherapy have side effects?
In most cases, you can return to your normal routine immediately without any problems. For any discomfort, you can take Tylenol, which would be safe for you as it is acetaminophen-based.
If you see local swelling or bruising at the injection site after the treatment, there’s no need to worry because this is a natural response. Moreover, the swelling usually fades after 24 hours, and the bruising will start to subside within a few weeks. Other side effects that may occur after your treatment are tenderness at the injection site, an allergic reaction that lasts no longer than 30 minutes, or mild cramping of the ankle or calf.
Sclerotherapy is a safe procedure as it is less invasive and non-surgical compared to other alternatives. It is effective in removing varicose and spider veins most of the time, but you may be required by your doctor to return for multiple treatments to get the best results.
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