You’ve probably heard the term, but what is sclerotherapy, exactly? Simply put, it’s a medical treatment that’s used to permanently remove spider and varicose veins. It’s a relatively straightforward procedure – a saline solution is injected directly into the vein. This irritates the blood vessel lining to make it swell together and clot the blood. Eventually, the vessel becomes scar tissue and fades away.

Is It Safe?

It might sound a little unnerving, but sclerotherapy is a procedure that’s proven safe for over 80 years. Patients sometimes encounter mild discomfort for a couple of minutes after the injection, and some experience cramping, particularly in the case of larger veins being injected. The process lasts no longer than half an hour. It can be done right in the doctor’s office by your dermatologist, and there is only limited activity requirements for a few days afterward.

Side Effects

Side effects of sclerotherapy are generally mild. Patients often experience slight itching for short while after the procedure, and sometimes the injection site will show raised reddish areas that disappear within a few days. Bruising can occur, and larger veins can turn hard and lumpy and will likely take a few months to fade away completely. None of these are anything to be concerned about. Some individuals, however, will experience allergic reactions, swollen legs, and ulcers at the injection site – and these are conditions that need to be immediately addressed.

Does it Work?

Studies show that as many as fifty to eighty percent of injected veins can be removed with each sclerotherapy session. Fewer than ten percent of cases see no change at all. Smaller veins respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins within a few months. Veins that disappear will not return, although new veins may grow in their place.

If you’re considering sclerotherapy and live in the Dayton and Miami Valley areas, please contact Dr. James Apesos to find out if you’re a good candidate. You won’t be eligible if you’re pregnant, but you can go through with treatments if you’re using birth control pills. Patients who have previously had blood clots will have to be evaluated individually.