The Vein Institute

Sclerotherapy Treatment

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy for varicose veins is a minimally invasive procedure to treat small varicose veins. It focuses on closing damaged veins by injecting them with a sclerosing agent while guided by ultrasound imagery.

Once injected, the pharmaceutical solution irritates the lining of the vein walls, causing them to close and stop blood from flowing through. As the body heals, it reroutes blood flow to other normally functioning veins and absorbs the treated vein.

Sclerotherapy is not a new procedure. In fact, medical and cosmetic practitioners used it to treat veins for the past 150 years. Over the years, specialists made significant advancements to improve the technique to what it is today. One such advancement is including ultrasound guidance and foam sclerotherapy for varicose veins. Both medications used at our clinic, Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate and Aethosxysclerol, are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration of Australia for treating varicose veins.

Benefits of Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy for varicose veins

  • Sclerotherapy is a low-risk, minimally invasive procedure
  • It doesn’t require general anaesthesia and typically won’t need regional anaesthetic, either
  • Our doctors generally take less than 30 minutes to perform the treatment
  • Additionally, you’ll need little to no downtime and can resume normal activities immediately, with some exceptions
  • The treatment is relatively painless. Patients often say the sensation is similar to a blood test
  • Sclerotherapy works most effectively when we combine it with Endovenous Laser Ablation or Radiofrequency Ablation for varicose veins
  • Success rates of 75-90% (when used independently and on small veins)
  • Quick and simple outpatient procedure
  • The body absorbs the problem vein and reroutes the blood to a healthy vein
  • Last but not least, patients have a significantly faster recovery period than surgical stripping

What to expect during the procedure

  • We will use ultrasound to reveal the problem vein and its path throughout your body
  • Guided by ultrasound, we’ll inject sclerosant into the affected vein
  • Each injection delivers around 0.1 to 0.4 mL of the sclerosant and we inject at an interval of 2 to 3 cm until we’ve addressed the entire vein
  • The sclerosant will then irritate the vein’s lining, making it swell shut and block blood flow
  • Once completed, compress the area with a bandage

Why ultrasound is important

During Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy for varicose veins, we use ultrasound to visualise the veins as they are being injected. It’s an integral part of the process because ultrasound helps the doctor see exactly where the sclerosing solution is going. It works by bouncing high-frequency sound waves off internal structures, forming an image below the skin’s surface.

Post treatment

You’ll be allowed to go home almost immediately after your procedure. To further help with your recovery, you’ll be asked to wear the bandages provided continuously for 48 hours, and special compression socks for a further 3 – 5 days. You will also need to walk a minimum of 30 minutes each day for 2 weeks after treatment.

Patients can expect an improvement in the vein’s appearance within a few weeks. They should also see a reduction of symptoms such as pain, swelling, itching and burning.

It’s normal to experience some side-effects after Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy. Keep in mind that these are only temporary, and should resolve completely within a couple of weeks or months. These may include: a mild allergic reaction (such as itching or swelling) to the sclerosing agent or tiny blood vessels may form in the treated area. This temporary condition is called revascularization and it normally goes away on its own after a few months.

In extremely rare cases, more serious complications can occur after sclerotherapy. Seek medical care immediately if you experience any of the following:

  • Acute inflammation or swelling in the injected region.
  • Small ulcers or wounds forming at the injection site.
  • Swelling in one or both legs immediately after treatment.
  • Chest pain after the procedure which can indicate DVT or Pulmonary Embolism.

Learn more: Non-Surgical Options for Varicose Veins

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