Sclerotherapy is a form of treatment for both spider veins and average-sized varicose veins. This treatment uses a chemical injected into the troublesome veins to cause the blood to coagulate, inflamation to set in, and the vein to eventually collapse so that the blood supply is rerouted to healthier veins. One variation of sclerotherapy, foam sclerotherapy, suspends the chemical in foam to provide greater adhesion to the vein walls.
Depending on the number of veins to be treated, a sclerotherapy session usually takes less than 30 minutes. After the procedure, the treatment site is wrapped in a bandage which applies pressure to control any bleeding and promote healing. Once treated with sclerotherapy, varicose veins do not come back.
Sclerotherapy is done on an outpatient basis and is only mildly painful. Other than the sting of the injection, some patients report some light cramping during the injection of the solution, but this quickly passes. Although all procedures have some risks, sclerotherapy has very few. Light bruising sometimes occurs around the affected area, and some patients have reported that freckling developed temporarily in the treatment area, but these both usually disappear within weeks.
With sclerotherapy, some patients may require several injection sessions for optimal results, but these are scheduled about a month apart. After finishing the treatment, the pain and unsightly appearance of the damaged veins are greatly improved. Patients report significantly smoother skin and little discoloration. Because these results are achieved without hospitalization or general anesthesia, sclerotherapy is a better choice than surgery for many patients. Patients also find recovery time is much shorter with sclerotherapy, and they are usually able to return to work within days.