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What Patients Can Expect from Sclerotherapy

Nobody is thrilled at the sight of varicose or spider veins.  Their appearance often creates cosmetic concerns.  When a physician recommends sclerotherapy to eliminate these unwanted blood vessels, many individuals wonder what this treatment is like and the results they can expect.

How This Therapy Eliminates Veins

Vein doctors who specialize in eliminating troublesome vessels are typically vascular surgeons.  They use this procedure for treating spider veins and small varicose vessels.  Vascular surgeons often also use ultrasound to examine a patient’s legs before recommending a treatment and to guide them during the procedure at a vein clinic.

This vein treatment involves injecting a substance known as a sclerosant to irritate the walls of selected vessels.  This causes scarring and closure of the vein, which ultimately disappears.  Normal veins fulfill the circulatory duties of the injected vessels.

The number and the size of abnormal vessels determine how many injections and procedures patients require.

What Happens During This Vein Treatment

Eliminating troublesome spider or varicose veins begins when a specialist conducts an examination, reviews the patient’s medical history, and selects any necessary tests.  Scheduling is possible once vascular surgeons determine that the patients they screen are acceptable candidates.

Patient preparation is simple.  The Mayo Clinic notes that it is helpful to arrive wearing shorts or other comfortable clothes with a loose fit.  For treatment of the legs, patients need to forego shaving their legs or applying any lotion for 24 hours prior to their appointment at the vein clinic.

After the staff positions the patient on a table, they clean each designated treatment area.  Individuals lie on their backs with legs slightly elevated. The doctor utilizes a fine needle to inject the sclerosant into each targeted vessel.

Vein doctors often use a foam sclerosant instead of a liquid to treat larger veins. The procedure requires no general anesthesia.  The composition of many sclerosants includes a local anesthetic.

Once the vein specialist has treated a vein, he or she massages the surrounding skin.  Applying compression helps the solution disperse.  It also helps keep blood out of the area.

As soon as possible, patients get up and start walking to prevent the formation of blood clots.  Beyond slight cramping or stinging when the physician inserts the needle, most people report little discomfort.

Patients usually schedule another adult to give them a ride home.  Aside from wearing compression stockings for a specified period, they can resume their regular routine the same day.  Discharge orders typically specify no strenuous activity until permitted by the surgeon.  They also caution against exposure to sunlight, which can cause dark spots on an individual’s skin.

Temporary issues might include bruising, raised red areas, or brown discolorations, according to the Radiological Society of North America, Inc.  One session can destroy 50 to 80 percent of treated vessels.

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