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What are the Side Effects of Sclerotherapy?

Varicose veins and spider veins can have an impact on every area of your life. The unsightly look and the changes in skin condition that may result can make you feel self-conscious about your physical appearance, while symptoms such as swelling, discomfort, and pain put your general health at risk. At Advanced Vein Therapy, we offer safe, effective solutions to this problem.

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive, same-day procedure that can be performed right here in our office. As a treatment option, it is proven safe and effective in not only reducing the appearance of varicose and spider veins but also the painful symptoms that accompany this condition. If you are considering this form of treatment, you may have concerns about the potential risks versus the benefits — the following outlines some of the advantages and possible side effects of sclerotherapy, along with steps you can take to increase your chances of success with this procedure.

How Sclerotherapy Is Less Risky Than Other Forms of Treatment

Sclerotherapy is a safe, non-surgical option for the treatment of varicose veins and spider veins. By improving your appearance and treating underlying vein disease it can offer both cosmetic and medical benefits. Performed in our office by our experienced staff, it is a relatively simple procedure that involves minimal downtime and discomfort, leaving you able to walk out of our offices the same day.

This advanced treatment involves injecting a solution directly into the affected veins. This acts to damage the walls of the vein, which causes scar tissue to form. As a result, blood is rerouted toward healthier veins. In time, your body eventually absorbs the damaged veins. This gives areas of skin susceptible to varicose and spider veins, like the thighs, calves, and feet, a clearer and more unblemished appearance.

Sclerotherapy has been shown to be effective in treating the appearance and physical symptoms associated with varicose and spider veins, and has far less risk of side effects such as nerve damage, bruising, and infection, while allowing for a quick recovery, letting you resume your usual daily hobbies and activities sooner.

Preparing for Treatment

The first step in eliminating varicose veins and spider veins through sclerotherapy is to schedule a consultation. We can discuss treatment options and whether sclerotherapy may be right for you. In addition to allowing us to evaluate your venous concerns, it also helps to ensure any underlying venous disease is diagnosed and treated.

In the process of conducting your exam, our doctors and staff will carefully compile and review your medical history. This includes:

  • Discussing any family history of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, or stroke;
  • Reviewing your health history and any existing conditions or recent illnesses, you may have had;
  • Reviewing any unrelated medical treatments you may have recently undergone and any medications you may be currently taking;
  • Uncovering any allergies you may have;
  • Discussing any other treatments, you may have had for varicose, and spider veins and the outcome or side effects you may have experienced.

Being candid and thorough in providing this information can help to reduce the risk of sclerotherapy side effects. After discussing all of the details regarding sclerotherapy and answering any questions you have, our team will schedule a time that is convenient for you to have the procedure performed.

Temporary Side Effects After Sclerotherapy

On the day treatment is scheduled, you will want to wear loose, comfortable clothing. Sclerotherapy requires no anesthesia, which significantly reduces your risk of complications.

The time it takes to perform sclerotherapy depends on the number of veins being treated. In many cases, it can be accomplished in as little as an hour. During the procedure, we will inject the solution into the damaged vein using a fine needle. You may experience some stinging or discomfort at the injection site.

Once the solution is injected into the damaged vein, and the needle is withdrawn, your legs will be wrapped with an ace bandage and your compression socks which you will be required to wear for up to two weeks afterward.

You can immediately begin walking around after sclerotherapy. Advanced Vein Therapy advises that walking and low impact exercise is recommended. However, it is also important to not overdo it. We will discuss your activities with you and will advise you on any restrictions. In the days after the procedure, it is not uncommon for patients to experience some temporary side effects. These include:

  • Bruising in the area treated;
  • Tender lumps and bumps at the injection site;
  • Skin discoloration around your recently treated varicose and spider veins.

In general, these symptoms will disappear in the weeks following your procedure. If they do not go away or you experience severe pain, fever, or other ailments, reach out to the Advanced Vein Therapy team right away.

When to Alert Your Doctor

There are occasions where more serious side effects of sclerotherapy may occur, but these situations are rare. Our radiologists, all of whom are highly trained and have years of experience, will review your medical history and discuss each one with you, to help avoid these risks. However, it is important to be aware of them:

  • Swelling: Inflammation is a relatively minor side effect, which wearing your compression socks and taking anti-inflammatory medication as instructed should help to eliminate.
  • Allergic reactions: There are some cases where patients may be allergic to the solution used during sclerotherapy, but it is relatively rare. To reduce your risks, advise your doctor of any adverse reactions you may have had in the past and notify them if you suffer a rash, itching, or other signs of allergy at the infection site.
  • Tender lumps and bumps in treated superficial veins are normal as your body heals. Signs of this include areas that are painful, hard, swollen, or warm to the touch. We recommend using warm, moist compresses and over the counter anti-inflammatories to help with discomfort.

Ways to Reduce Sclerotherapy Risks

You can reduce your sclerotherapy risks before undergoing the procedure by disclosing any current health issues, medical conditions or physical symptoms you have, and following all of your doctor’s pre-treatment instructions closely. Be sure to discuss any over-the-counter or prescription medications and supplements you may be taking with your doctor before your procedure and follow all of their recommendations.

In addition to its safety and effectiveness, one of the main advantages of sclerotherapy as a treatment for varicose veins and spider veins is that the procedure itself is quick. There is generally little to no downtime, and you can resume working and other normal daily activities right away. However, taking a few simple precautions can help to promote healing and reduces the risk of any side effects. Our board-certified radiologists recommend the following suggestions:

  • Use compression socks or stockings exactly as instructed, as they promote healing and help reduce the amount of swelling. We recommend the use of compression socks for two weeks following sclerotherapy.
  • Speak up about any pain, stiffness, or discomfort you may be experiencing. In many cases, this is normal and can be alleviated by using over-the-counter medications.
  • While staying active can help to prevent blood clotting, you want to avoid overdoing it. Follow your doctor’s advice regarding exercise and other activities. In general, avoid strenuous workouts, such as running, aerobics, or weight lifting. If you intend to fly immediately after your procedure, get approval from your doctor first.
  • Avoid hot baths, steam rooms, saunas, or lying in the sun for two weeks following sclerotherapy. High temperatures increase the risk of skin sensitivity and put pressure on your veins, causing them to swell and dilate.

The Benefits of Sclerotherapy

Now that you are aware of all the possible side effects of sclerotherapy let’s take a moment to review all the benefits. As a non-invasive treatment for varicose veins and spider veins, it eliminates the need for sedation while reducing your risks for infections and other common surgical risks.

Of course, the main benefit is the impact sclerotherapy can have on your health and your physical appearance:

  • Unsightly varicose veins and spider veins can be eliminated, leaving you free to live your life without feeling self-conscious.
  • Venous circulation is improved, and you no longer need to suffer from cramping, tingling, numbness, heaviness or general pain and discomfort during the day.

Is Sclerotherapy Right for You?

Sclerotherapy can be a life-changing procedure for people who suffer from varicose veins and spider veins. To discuss whether you may be a candidate for this treatment and how it can benefit you, reach out and contact our Boise office and request an appointment with a member of our team today.

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