What is Sclerotherapy?
Varicose veins are blood vessels that are abnormally dilated which appear swollen, twisted and can be painful. Varicose veins can form anywhere in the body, but they are usually seen in the back of the calf or on the inside of the leg. They occur when the valves in the veins do not function properly and the blood leaks down and collects in the veins. This causes the veins to enlarge. Women are more likely to get varicose veins than men. Puberty, hormonal changes, weight gain, lack of physical activity, pregnancy, birth control pills, sitting, or standing for a long time are some of the factors that cause varicose veins. Varicose veins appear as blue, purple, or red veins and look twisted and bulging.
The non-surgical treatment options for varicose veins include:
- Sclerotherapy: It is one of the common treatments for varicose veins. A sclerosing/irritant solution is injected into the target site where the varicose veins are present. The sclerosing solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel causing the vein to swell and stick together. Over time, the venous blemishes turn into scar tissue and may disappear. The number of veins treated in one session will be decided by your dermatologist based on the size and location of the veins. There will be a two-week interval between first and second treatments and then a 1-month period to assess response.
In micro-injection sclerotherapy, tiny needles are used to inject a sclerosing solution into the abnormal tiny veins to close off the vein.
Sclerotherapy slowly clears leg veins and may be completely resolved in two to six months, depending on the vessel size.
Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy: Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy technique involves injecting a sclerosing substance, a mild detergent solution, directly into the varicose vein using a very fine needle. The procedure takes about 15 to 30 minutes. An ultrasound is used to track the foam which makes sure that foam enters the varicose veins and not normal veins. The target veins are compressed by a bandage and a surgical stocking is placed over this bandage. The sclerosing solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel causing the vein to swell and stick together. Over time, the venous blemishes turn into scar tissue and may disappear.
Advantages of Sclerotherapy
The advantage of using Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is that it requires no incision, less time for recovery, no scar formation and does not require an overnight stay in the hospital.