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Sclerotherapy is an injection treatment for varicose veins and spider veins. A solution called a sclerosant is injected under ultrasound guidance to damage the internal lining of the vein on purpose and cause blood clotting inside the vein.

Over time, the blood vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.

Sclerotherapy is often recommended for people with small to medium-sized varicose veins.

For larger veins, a foam version of sclerotherapy may be recommended.

Local anaesthetic is usually given before sclerotherapy or foam sclerotherapy

Are there side-effects from sclerotherapy?

Side effects of sclerotherapy include allergic reactions, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots in other leg veins, headaches, lower back pain, skin colour changes, fainting or temporary problems with vision.

Rare complications include strokes or transient ischaemic attack (TIA).

What happens after the treatment?

After the treatment you will be able to drive yourself home and resume your regular daily activities. Walking is encouraged; however, aerobic activity is not advised for the first few days after treatment.

Compression stockings or bandages will need to be worn for around two weeks after the procedure.

How effective is sclerotherapy?

Studies have shown that as many as 50-80% of injected veins may be eliminated with each session of sclerotherapy. Fewer than 10% of those who have sclerotherapy show no response to the injections. In these cases, different solutions can be tried. Although this procedure works for most people, there are no guarantees of success.

In general, spider veins respond in three to six weeks, and larger veins respond in three to four months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear at the same rate as before. If needed, you may return for further treatment.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on March 11, 2015

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