What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a versatile minimally invasive method of treating varicose veins and spider veins. A medication called a sclerosant is injected into the damaged vein through a small needle. The sclerosant causes the treated vein to close down, and, with time, the abnormal vein is reabsorbed by the body. The blood is rerouted from the damaged to normal-functioning veins.
Tennessee Vein Center uses two FDA-approved sclerosants: polidocanol and sodium tetradecyl sulfate. These sclerosant medications do not cause the burning and cramping associated with saline injections.
Experts consider sclerotherapy to be the gold standard treatment for leg veins.
What are the advantages of Sclerotherapy?
- Versatile treatment for various types and sizes of varicose, reticular and spider veins
- Nearly pain-free when small needles are used with a non-saline sclerosant
- No surgical incisions or scars
- Often covered by insurance (when criteria are met)
- Can be done on patients of any skin type or color
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AT MY SCLEROTHERAPY CONSULTATION?
The first step in evaluating varicose, spider veins or symptoms suggestive of venous insufficiency is to schedule a medical consultation or free screening with Tennessee Vein Center. We will first determine if a full evaluation with duplex venous ultrasound and venous mapping is appropriate. Once you and your medical history have been evaluated, a tailored treatment plan will be provided.
For some patients, just visual sclerotherapy is needed, while others may require ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy in conjunction with endovenous thermal ablation treatment. Most insurers require a documented trial of conservative treatment before approving the thermal ablation procedure. As part of the evaluation, you will be measured for or prescribed a medical-grade compression hose.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR MY TREATMENT?
Before your procedure, you should avoid taking blood-thinning medications as well as aspirin and ibuprofen for about one week. Avoid smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol in the two days leading up to your treatment.
On the day of the procedure, you should:
- Shower and use antibacterial soap to wash your legs
- Avoid shaving and the use of lotion on your legs
- Wear or bring a pair of loose-fitting shorts (we can provide disposable shorts if needed)
- Bring your compression hose
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated
- Remember it is fine to eat on the day of your sclerotherapy procedure
- You may want to avoid eating a heavy meal just prior to treatment
- You may want to consider having a light snack before treatment starts if it has been several hours since you last ate
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT DURING MY SCLEROTHERAPY PROCEDURE?
At the beginning of your treatment, we’ll have you lie down with your legs slightly elevated. The area will be cleansed and sterilized, and a topical anesthetic may be used for your comfort. Dr. Campbell will carefully inject the sclerosant solution into the target blood vessels using a fine needle. The solution will cause the walls of the vein to become tacky and stick together, causing the vein to close.
Once the injection is finished, Dr. Campbell will apply pressure and gently massage the area to distribute the solution within the vein.
DO I NEED ULTRASOUND-GUIDED SCLEROTHERAPY?
For larger veins (varicose veins), sclerotherapy is performed under ultrasound guidance. This means ultrasound mapping of the veins allows Dr. Campbell to view the target vein and find it with the needle.
For smaller veins (spider and reticular veins), the procedure is done visually because ultrasound guidance is not necessary.
HOW MANY INJECTIONS WILL I NEED FOR EACH SCLEROTHERAPY TREATMENT?
Some small veins may need just one injection to be treated, but thicker and longer veins may need multiple sclerotherapy injections. During your personal consultation, we will be able to give you an idea of how many injections you will need based on the size and location of your affected veins.
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCEDURE TAKE?
The entire sclerotherapy treatment process can be completed in as little as 15 minutes. Some treatments may take 30 minutes. Overall, patients generally spend less than an hour at our office from start to finish.
WHAT IS THE SCLEROTHERAPY RECOVERY PROCESS LIKE?
WEAR YOUR COMPRESSION HOSE
Immediately after ultrasound-guided injections, we will let your legs rest for five minutes prior to having you put on your compression hose. It is important for you to wear your medical-grade compression hose for five to seven days after ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. Compression hosiery helps your circulation and serves to reduce swelling, inflammation and complications while also helping to speed healing.
During this healing process, walking and normal daily activities are strongly encouraged. This light movement aids in circulation to prevent blood clots and encourages healing.
EXPECT SOME MANAGEABLE BRUISING AND SORENESS
Bruising, minor soreness and tenderness along the course of the treated vein(s) are common. We recommend Arnicare® Gel or Cream to help reduce the bruising. If needed, the mild discomfort can be relieved by an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Some patients also develop temporary small skin sores and raised red areas. These should resolve within a few days to weeks.
NO DOWNTIME IS NEEDED, BUT TAKE IT EASY INITIALLY
You can resume normal daily activities immediately after the procedure, but you should avoid extremely strenuous activities for a few days.
WHEN WILL I SEE THE RESULTS OF MY SCLEROTHERAPY?
Small veins, such as spider veins, will disappear in about three to six weeks after your treatment. Larger veins like varicose veins may take three to four months to close and no longer be visible. Most patients experience relief from the symptoms of their venous defects, such as swelling, aching, burning and cramps, within a few weeks.
HOW LONG DO SCLEROTHERAPY RESULTS LAST?
The veins closed with sclerotherapy will be permanently eliminated from the body, providing long-lasting results. However, new spider veins or varicose veins can develop in the treatment area, which may make subsequent treatments over the years necessary to maintain your results.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SCLEROTHERAPY
HOW MUCH DOES SCLEROTHERAPY COST?
WHO IS A GOOD SCLEROTHERAPY CANDIDATE?
ARE SCLEROTHERAPY INJECTIONS PAINFUL?
HOW MANY SCLEROTHERAPY TREATMENTS WILL I NEED?
HOW LONG DO I NEED TO WAIT BETWEEN SCLEROTHERAPY TREATMENTS?
DO I NEED THE VEINS THAT ARE CLOSED WITH SCLEROTHERAPY?
DOES SCLEROTHERAPY REALLY WORK?
WHAT IF SCLEROTHERAPY ISN’T RIGHT FOR ME?
WHAT ARE THE POTENTIAL SIDE EFFECTS OF SCLEROTHERAPY?
WHY CHOOSE DR. CAMPBELL AND THE TENNESSEE VEIN CENTER FOR SCLEROTHERAPY?
Relieve your image of Spider Veins with Sclerotherapy at Tennessee Vein Center
Developing spider veins can be disheartening. The condition can cause you distress and may be discomforting, as it prevents you from confidently wearing your favorite clothing or showing your legs in public. We don’t want your spider veins to hold you back from living your life how you want. That’s why we offer sclerotherapy, a successful spider vein treatment that has helped many across the world regain their confidence by relieving their image of spider veins. If you struggle with spider veins, please, call us today at (865) 233-5858, or visit our contact page to learn more. We can assess your venous concerns and determine if sclerotherapy would benefit you.