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If you’re seeing even the lightest of spider or varicose veins, it’s time to think of vein treatment. Remember, varicose veins don’t go away on their own, and if left untreated, those barely-visible veins will become full-blown, bulging veins and may lead to more serious complications. Sclerotherapy is often the first treatment of choice for light to moderate varicose veins.

You can do at-home therapies for early-stage vein disease, like elevating your legs, exercising, eating a healthy diet, and wearing compression stockings. But those therapies alone may not stop the vein disease from progressing. You will likely need professional treatment. 

Your vein provider may recommend a nonsurgical procedure called sclerotherapy. 

What is Sclerotherapy?

sclerotherapy procedure; needle injection solution into woman's legs

Sclerotherapy is often the treatment of choice for early signs of varicose veins, although it is also highly effective on moderately-progressed veins. It’s a minimally invasive, in-office procedure where a solution (sclerosant) is injected into the vein. This is not surgery, and you do not need anesthesia for it.

This causes the vein to scar and reroute blood to other, healthier veins. Your vein collapses from the sclerosant injection and absorbs into your body. Those veins should completely disappear within a couple weeks.

Sclerotherapy is a popular treatment. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, more than 295,331 sclerotherapy procedures were done in 2020 alone. 

Why is Sclerotherapy Done?

Sclerotherapy is done because it is a quick, relatively painless procedure with very little or even no down-time. It normally takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour to complete. You can get up and walk around immediately after and probably return to your regular day. This often makes sclerotherapy a first-choice procedure.

Sclerotherapy can be performed on its own, or along with endovenous laser ablation, depending on how large and deep your veins are. 

Is Sclerotherapy Safe?

Yes, sclerotherapy is a safe, effective procedure for treating varicose veins. In fact, sclerotherapy has been performed in the United States since 1939! Since then it has become a major treatment for venous insufficiency. 

Your doctor will likely have you come in for a pre-procedure appointment to go over the treatment, side effects, effectiveness, and answer any questions you have. 

What Happens During Sclerotherapy?

During sclerotherapy, your provider will have you lie down. After cleaning the affected area with alcohol, they will insert a fine needle and inject either a foam or a solution into your vein. It might sting or cramp, but the effects will be temporary and minor. The injected solution or foam then irritates the vein, causing it to close off. Your blood is then rerouted to nearby healthy veins, all on its own.

Your doctor will then remove the needle and maybe rub or massage the area to disperse the solution or foam, provide compression, and move on to the next vein. Meanwhile, your recently injected vein is closing itself off, and over the next few weeks will be absorbed into the body and should disappear completely. 

What to Expect After Sclerotherapy

The recovery is minimal. You will likely wear light compression stockings for a few days to a couple weeks while your veins collapse and reroute the blood. You might experience a slight burning or soreness, but otherwise you should be able to return to your normal day. If you do vigorous leg exercises, such as squats or running, ask your doctor when it is safe for you to resume those activities.

Ready for Treatment?

If you are ready to learn more about sclerotherapy, we will happily connect you with one of our expert providers. Get started today by booking a free consultation!