How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
Sclerotherapy uses a chemical, called a sclerosant, that is injected directly into the affected veins.
The sclerosant elicits a reaction within the vein, causing the vein to develop scar tissue, which prevents any further blood flow through it. The vein collapses, shrinks, and is eventually resorbed by the body. As soon as the targeted vein is sealed shut, blood flow automatically reroutes through nearby healthy veins.
Types of Sclerotherapy
There are three techniques available for sclerotherapy and each technique is used for different reasons, depending on the number, size, and location of spider or varicose veins to be treated. This will also help determine how many treatments will be necessary.
Prior to any sclerotherapy procedure, a detailed personal history, family history, examination of the veins, and treatment goals will be discussed with Dr. Edward G. Mackay. This will help determine the most appropriate treatment technique for each patient.
In this procedure, a small needle is used to inject the liquid sclerosant directly into the target vein. This procedure works best for the treatment of smaller veins.
For this procedure, a different form of sclerosant is used, which is exposed to air to create a foam, resulting in a thicker consistency than used in conventional liquid sclerotherapy. The foam sclerosant is then injected directly into the target veins. The foam coats the inside of the veins much more effectively than can be done in conventional sclerotherapy.
The advantages of foam sclerotherapy include:
- Smaller amounts of the sclerosant can be used in the affected vessels
- Larger, deeper veins can be treated
- It can be used with ultrasound for more precise administration
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy can be used for deep varicose veins or larger superficial veins. Ultrasound imaging acts as a guide for the injection, for greater accuracy and more effective treatment.
What to Expect
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that is performed in our office. The entire session typically lasts about an hour. Most patients experience only minimal discomfort during sclerotherapy. If desired, a topical anesthetic may be used to make the experience more comfortable. In almost all cases, multiple treatment sessions will be necessary to fully treat the affected veins.
Recovery After Sclerotherapy
There is no downtime required following sclerotherapy. You should be able to return to your usual activities immediately afterward.
You will be required to wear compression stockings for at least 1 to 2 weeks following the procedure to encourage to good circulation in your legs. Dr. Mackay will discuss other post-procedural instructions that may be necessary with you. Our sclerotherapy recovery guide may also be helpful.
Any post-procedural pain should be minimal and can be controlled with over-the-counter pain relievers. It may take several weeks for the treated veins to completely disappear. Even though these veins have been treated, other veins in the leg are still subject to malfunction, leading to possible recurrence of spider and varicose veins in the future.
Before & After Photos
Browse these photos of actual patients, both before and after their sclerotherapy treatment at Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC.
Sclerotherapy for Varicose, Spider Veins
Sclerotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for spider veins and varicose veins – so much so that it’s considered the gold standard when it comes to eliminating these unsightly and unhealthy veins. With sclerotherapy, your veins will vanish, leaving you free to confidently resume wearing shorts, bathing suits, and more that show off your legs!
Board-certified vascular surgeon Dr. Mackay at Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC has advanced training and experience in sclerotherapy, including the different techniques involved the carrying out the procedure.
For expert treatment of your medical and cosmetic vein needs, call Edward G. Mackay and Associates, LLC at (727) 781-5652 to get started. You can also request an appointment now. We look forward to seeing you at one of our three convenient locations in Palm Harbor, St. Petersburg, or Largo, Florida.