What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure whereby a chemical, the sclerosant, is injected into a vein to entirely obliterate it. The sclerosant damages the innermost lining of the vessel (the endothelium), resulting in a clot that blocks the blood circulation in the vein beyond.
Does sclerotherapy hurt?
Because this procedure requires injections through the skin, it is not a painless procedure. Some chemicals that are injected (sclerosants) are more likely to cause pain than others. If the sclerosant is deposited outside the vein inadvertently, this is often more painful.
How are sclerotherapy injections administered?
We use FDA-approved polidocanol (Asclera). For small veins, hypertonic saline is occasionally used. Depending on the size of the vein to be used. A needle of the appropriate caliber is inserted into the vessel to be treated, and the chemical is injected.
Who is a good candidate for sclerotherapy?
Those with venous insufficiency who have disease that is poorly controlled with compression stockings and who are not obese are ideal candidates for sclerotherapy. To determine if sclerotherapy obliteration is likely to be of benefit, the site of the defective vein is identified as well as the venous drainage pattern. Healthy people who complain of unsightly superficial veins of small caliber (4 mm or less) are also candidates for sclerotherapy. Our medical providers will do a thorough physical exam and medical history with CEAP classification (C-classification,E-etiology,A-Anatomy,P-Pathophysiology).
What aftercare is needed following a sclerotherapy procedure?
Patients should wear compression stockings ffor one to three weeks after treatment,. A follow-up visit within two weeks is recommended. Take a 30-60 minute walk shortly after the treatment, and walk 20-30 minutes a day for 2 weeks, but avoid strenuous exercise for 1-2 days. Do not perform aerobic exercise such as jog or ride a bicycle for a week. Avoid hot baths or Jacuzzis for a few days following procedure to avoid dilating veins.
What are risks, side effects, and complications of sclerotherapy?
Include:: hyperpigmentation, temporary swelling, capillary dilation (telangiectatic matting), pain from the injection, localized hives, tape compression blister, tape compression folliculitis, and recurrence, vasovagal reflex, localized hair growth (hirsutism), skin death (cutaneous necrosis), allergic reaction, superficial thrombophlebitis, arterial injection, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis, nerve damage, and migraine headaches.
Who should perform sclerotherapy?
Board certified clinicians with extensive training in vascular anatomy, procedural technique and ability to diagnose and treat complications should any arise.
References: mayoclinic.org, American Academy of Dermatology