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How do I get rid of these awful spider veins?

What is Sclerotherapy?

Donna England, RN, has been providing Sclerotherapy in Wilmington for over 17 years.  Sclerotherapy is a proven medical procedure that has been in use since the 1930s, to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins. During the procedure a solution (generally a salt or an irritating solution) is injected directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together and the blood to clot. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.

Am I a Candidate for Sclerotherapy?

Prior to sclerotherapy, you will have an initial consultation with a dermatologist or vascular medicine specialist who will determine if the procedure is right for you.

Sclerotherapy is not recommended in the following circumstances:

  • If you are pregnant
  • If you have had a blood clot in the past, your eligibility will depend on the overall health of the area needing treatment as well as the reason for the clot.

Veins that are potentially usable for future heart bypass surgery will generally not be considered for sclerotherapy unless they are already deemed unusable.

How Is Sclerotherapy Done?

During sclerotherapy, the sclerosing solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. At this point, you may experience mild discomfort and/or cramping for one to two minutes, especially when larger veins are injected.  The sclerotherapy procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 45 minutes. The number of veins injected in one session depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as your general medical condition.

What You Need To Do Before Sclerotherapy?

Prior to sclerotherapy, you should avoid certain medications. Talk to your doctor about all medicines (including over-the-counter drugs, herbs, and dietary supplements) you are taking before the procedure. Some doctors recommend avoiding aspirin, ibuprofen (for example, Advil, Motrin and Nuprin), or other anti-inflammatory drugs for 48-72 hours before sclerotherapy.

What Side Effects Are Associated With Sclerotherapy?

You may experience certain side effects after sclerotherapy. There are milder effects, such as itching, which can last for one or two days after the procedure. Also, you may experience raised, red areas at the injection site. These should disappear within a few days. Bruising may also occur around the injection side and can last several days or weeks.  Other side effects may include:

  • Larger veins that have been injected may become lumpy and hard and may require several months to dissolve and fade.
  • Brown lines or spots may appear at the vein site. In most cases, they disappear within three to six months.
  • New, tiny blood vessels may occur at the site of sclerotherapy treatment. These tiny veins can appear days or weeks after the procedure, but should fade within three to twelve months without further treatment.

Should any of the following side effects occur, contact us immediately. These include:

  • Inflammation within five inches of the groin
  • A sudden onset of a swollen leg
  • Formation of small ulcers at the injection site

Allergic reactions to the injection fluid may occur at the time of the procedure and are rarely serious. If you have a history of allergies, you have a greater chance of experiencing an allergic reaction to the agents. A minor allergic reaction will cause itching and swelling. To avoid any serious complications, your doctor will likely test the agents on a small area before applying the solutions to a larger area.