Sclerotherapy is a simple procedure performed by our skilled practitioners, which involves injecting a solution into the vein using a micro-needle, thereby causing the vein to collapse and fade from view. It is a virtually painless treatment which has been shown to be the most successful treatment available today for these tiny blood vessels.
Most patients are pleased with the difference that sclerotherapy makes, usually seeing an overall improvement of 80-90 % following treatment.
It is important to realise however that this treatment does not prevent new veins from emerging in the future and as time passes by, it may be necessary for touch-up treatments when new leg veins surface.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does this treatment work?
A dilute irritant solution is injected into the vein using a very fine needle. This damages the vessel lining causing it to close off. The body treats this as damaged tissue which is slowly absorbed over about three months. Sometimes all the thread veins disappear.
How successful is Sclerotherapy?
The injections are almost painless and all the thread veins can usually be treated in one half hour session. They look worse to begin with and large vessels may go black. Fading starts after three weeks and it will be three months before the main benefit is seen and improvement continues for a year. For this reason it is a good idea to plan treatment some time before your holiday. The treatment will last for several years, but other thread veins will often develop over time. An improvement of 80-90 % is more usual.
How effective is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a permanent solution for the areas treated, but does not prevent new problem areas from appearing.
How many treatment sessions are needed?
The number of treatments varies and is dependent upon the patient and the extent of the condition but each session must have a 4-6 week interval. This and other aspects of the treatment will be discussed in more detail at the pre-treatment consultation.
Are there any complications?
Great care is needed when injecting, especially very small veins as the solution can damage the overlying skin. Large veins may leave a faint brown mark which will fade over a year but is easily concealed with a light tan or stockings. An allergic reaction to the solution is very rare, occurring in about one person in 100 000. It can cause a drop in blood pressure as well as a general reaction.
What should I do before treatment?
Please avoid aspirin, vitamin E and Aloe Vera preparations for at least 10 days.
What happens afterwards?
Cotton wool will be taped over the injection sites but can be removed the same evening. You will be given a pair of support stockings which should be worn for three days and nights. You might want to wear trousers to cover these. For this reason sclerotherapy is best avoided in hot weather. You will be able to return to normal activities and driving immediately afterwards. However, please avoid hot baths or vigorous physical activity for about a week to allow the thread veins to close off.
How long does the treatment take?
In most cases, treatment takes 30-60 minutes and no recovery time is needed so normal activity can be undertaken immediately afterwards.
Is micro-sclerotherapy painful?
Patients who have had micro-sclerotherapy have reported little discomfort. Some experience a slight to moderate burning sensation immediately after the injection but this disappears within a few seconds.
Can thread and spider veins also be treated by laser?
Thread and spider veins also occur elsewhere on the body, particularly on the face, where larger vessels have been treated successfully with sclerotherapy and finer thread veins by laser.
Are there any side-effects following treatment?
Most patients experience no complications; however, some minor side-effects have been reported. These include slight blistering which occurs when small amounts of the solution seep into the surrounding skin areas. These blisters tend to heal rapidly. Occasionally, a small, dark area of pigmentation resembling a freckle may remain. These spots, however, do tend to disappear over time or respond to further treatment with bleaching creams. Bruising around the treated area, which eventually disappears, can result if the veins are unusually weak and clots sometimes develop at the site of the injection. Although never a major cause for concern, these clots may be removed within two weeks in order to allow the healing process to progress normally.
Swelling occasionally occurs, particularly in those patients whose jobs require standing or sitting for long periods of time. Swelling sometimes develops when veins in the lower leg or ankle are involved. Although not dangerous, the swelling should be treated with elevation and /or compresses
How long do the results last?
In the long term, sclerotherapy provides benefit as a treatment for unsightly, superficial veins, however it is not a preventative treatment and cannot stop new problem areas from appearing, but it is believed that the use of support tights, weight control and regular exercise may be helpful in prevention. A top-up may be required in 2-3 years.