So here is the 411. Sclerotherapy is a procedure that involves injecting targeted areas on the legs with a saline solution that irritates the lining of the vein. In hindsight this sounds like a horrible idea, but in actuality the end result is quite pleasing. The irritation caused by the tiny needle injected salt solution makes the vein swell shut, thus blocking the flow of blood. After collapsing the damaged vein, scar tissue is then formed, forcing blood to find another way to circulate. The blood is thus rerouted through a healthier vein and the once damaged veins are left to disintegrate naturally in the body.
Seems easy enough, but it’s important to note the treatment is not for the faint of heart. The whole procedure involves pricking the legs multiple times with a needle, which depending on severity could be anywhere from 10s to 100s of injection sites. Now all of this is likely discussed in your appointments leading up to the procedure and each individual will have a very specific plan of action. For example, you may have a couple larger problem areas, while the patient in the room next to you might have multiple spider veins needing more injections over a larger surface area. As a result, your treatment might require fewer pricks of the actual needle, but more of the solution released in a single prick, or it could be completely vice-versa. This is why it’s important to see a physician and figure out the best plan of action for your specific condition.
While we can’t provide all the details in regards to the preparation and post-op process of sclerotherapy (each patient seems to have a slightly different set of instructions from their physician), there are a couple important tips our compression family has shared that we’d love to pass onto you.
Check this list before your procedure:
- Note any medications/supplements you’re taking with your doctor prior to the procedure. You may need to stop taking some of them before receiving any injections.
- Avoid shaving or applying lotion at least 24 hours before.
- Buy your post-procedure compression garments early to guarantee adequate delivery time.
- Stay out of the sun to avoid sunburns.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Some things to steer clear of following the treatment:
- Direct sunlight.
- An excessively hot bath or compresses.
- Anti-inflammatory medications.
- Strenuous or high impact activities.
- Long travel, especially airplane rides.
We hope the above advice helps provide a rough guideline of what to expect. Remember the treatment doesn’t work for everyone, and the results will vary from individual to individual. We encourage you to do your own research and also don’t be discouraged to ask multiple questions prior to undergoing sclerotherapy treatment. We’ve never met a doctor who hates questions! In fact, we hear the more informed you are, the better the patient you’ll be for your physician.