Varicose veins can be both unattractive and cause physical problems such as leg aching, pain, swelling, and muscle cramping. Varicose veins are caused by veins that develop malfunctions in returning blood to the circulatory system, resulting in blood pooling in the affected veins. Sclerotherapy is a minimally-invasive treatment that can eliminate both the cosmetic and symptomatic features of varicose veins.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a special solution into the affected veins. The solution destroys the vein and causes it to collapse. The body then slowly reabsorbs the vein and builds new veins to direct blood around the site of the treatment. Although it sounds involved, it is actually a fairly simple and convenient treatment. Most procedures only take minutes to complete; if there are multiple veins to be treated, it may take longer.
Most patients can immediately return to most all of their normal activities. A compression stocking may need to be worn for a set amount of time after the procedure and patients should generally avoid strenuous physical activity during this time period. However, low-impact exercise such as frequent walking is encouraged during healing. The treated varicose veins will take time to disappear.
What is the Success Rate?
Complications are rare. There may be some temporary minor swelling, redness, and inflammation around the injection site; however, this is to be expected.
Overall, around 60 to 80% of varicose veins are eliminated by sclerotherapy. In some cases, a second treatment is necessary. Most of the cases that do not respond are very large varicose veins that can be treated by other procedures.