Sclerotherapy is a procedure for varicose veins treatment. The process treats the visible blood vessels or blood vessel malformations under your skin. The varicose vein treatment has been effective since the 1930s.
Varicose veins are large, swollen blood vessels, usually in your legs, that can be seen through your skin. Spider veins are their smaller counterparts. Varicose veins can be red, blue, or purple, and spider veins sometimes occur on the face as well. Treatment for varicose veins is usually very effective.
If you suffer from venous insufficiency — which is when the valves in your veins, particularly in your legs, don’t work properly. If you’re interested in cosmetic benefits, sclerotherapy can reduce or eliminate the appearance of unsightly varicose veins.
Women are more susceptible to varicose veins than men. If you’re pregnant, have had possible blood clots in the past, or the veins affected could be used for future heart bypass surgery, you may not qualify for sclerotherapy.
Who Gets Varicose and Spider Veins
You may have high risk factors for developing varicose and spider veins, but most people respond well to treatment for varicose veins. Risk factors include:
- A family history of the condition
- Being involved in a profession that requires a lot of standing, such as a hairstylist, nurse, teacher or factory worker
- Hormonal issues related to puberty, pregnancy or menopause
- Taking birth control pills
- Undergoing postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy
- A history of blood clots
- Increased pressure in your abdomen — from tumors, constipation or girdles
- Trauma or injury to the skin of your legs
- Previous vein surgery
- Extensive exposure to ultraviolet rays
Symptoms of varicose veins can include pain, aching or cramping in your legs. You may also feel more tired or restless than usual. Sometimes, you experience burning, throbbing, tingling or heaviness in your legs. Swelling, ulcers and a darkening of your skin — especially around your ankles — are rarely seen symptoms, but are still possible.
Varicose Veins Natural Treatment
You can try simple forms of treatment, such as wearing support hose or compression stockings, but these home remedies don’t always work. In Manhattan, your dermatology specialist may recommend lifestyle changes and other varicose veins natural treatments, such as:
- Losing weight and eating a better diet
- Walking or getting into a regular exercise regimen
- Resting whenever possible and keeping your legs raised when you do
- Not standing or sitting for long stretches
- Keeping your legs straight, not crossed, when sitting
- Wearing comfortable shoes
- Taking supplements such as horse chestnut extract
Varicose veins natural treatments are a good place to start, but don’t hesitate to call your dermatologist if you’re not getting better or your symptoms are actually getting worse.
The Sclerotherapy Procedure
If simple forms of varicose veins treatment don’t lead to marked improvements, see your NYC dermatologist. Sclerotherapy is a viable alternative. This treatment for varicose veins involves:
- For 10 days prior to the procedure, you have to avoid certain medications — such as aspirin, ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
- Before your procedure, you should check with your doctor about any other medicines, over-the-counter drugs, herbs, or dietary supplements you may have to stop taking.
- Your licensed Manhattan specialist performs the sclerotherapy process in her office.
- A solution, usually a detergent, is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein.
- The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse and stick together, while the blood clots.
- You may experience mild discomfort and cramping for a minute or two.
- The number of veins injected in one session depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as your medical condition in general.
- After your procedure, you shouldn’t engage in any aerobic activity for a few days.
- You should wear your compression stockings for at least 2 weeks following the procedure.
Over time, the blood vessel scars over preventing blood flow through it. The procedure usually takes about fifteen to thirty minutes, depending on the number of veins you’re having treated.
Side Effects of the Process
This varicose vein treatment has been proven safe. In fact, it’s been used for decades. There are, however, some potential side effects, including:
- Itching that can last for one or two days
- Raised, swollen, red areas or hives at the injection site
- Mild to moderate bruising
- Larger veins may become lumpy and hard; they may require several months to dissolve and fade
- Hyperpigmentation, or brown lines or spots, may appear at the vein site, although they usually disappear within three to six months
- Allergic reaction
- Developing new tiny blood vessels at the injection site, which can appear days or weeks after the procedure
Contact your doctor if you experience inflammation within five inches of your groin, the sudden onset of a swollen leg, the formation of small ulcers at the injection site or an allergic reaction to the fluid. All these are very rare.
Results and Benefits of Sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure that promises little to no downtime. You can resume normal activities immediately. Walking, in fact, is encouraged. Your NYC dermatologist may recommend that you use support hose to “compress” the treated vessels. Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen or other NSAIDs for at least forty-eight hours. You should also avoid hot baths, hot compresses, whirlpools or saunas, direct exposure to sunlight and hot showers.
You can look forward to a 50 to 80 percent elimination of the affected veins with each session of your varicose veins treatment. For tougher cases, different solutions are available. Spider veins usually respond in three to six weeks, while larger veins react in three to four months. If the veins respond well, they won’t reappear, although new veins may appear, depending on your physical makeup, personal medical history and family history.
Sclerotherapy is a safe, effective method for varicose vein treatment in many cases. If this procedure does not resolve the appearance and symptoms of your varicose veins, your doctor may try another treatment option, but sclerotherapy is well-regarded in the dermatological field.
Important Reminder: This information is only intended to provide guidance, not a definitive medical advice. Please consult dermatologist NYC about your specific condition. Only a trained, experienced board certified dermatology doctor or pediatric dermatologist can determine an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.
Do you have any questions about sclerotherapy procedure in NYC? Would like to schedule an appointment with an internationally recognized dermatologist in New York, Dr. Susan Bard of Manhattan Dermatology Specialists, please contact our Midtown NYC or Upper East Side NYC office for consultation with the top sclerotherapy specialist.