Sclerotherapy is a popular method of eliminating superficial telangiectasias (“spider veins”) especially leg spider veins. A solution, called a sclerosing agent, is injected into the veins. This causes an irritation of the inner lining of the vein resulting in closure of the vein. A small gauge needle is used to perform the injections and most patients relate the discomfort to an ant bite. The majority of persons who have had sclerotherapy performed have satisfying results. The number of treatment needed varies from patient to patient, depending on the extent of the problem and your body’s response to the injections.
The majority of individuals who receive sclerotherapy treatment will be cleared of their varicosities or have visible improvement. However, there is no guarantee that sclerotherapy will be effective in every case. Approximately 10% of patients who undergo sclerotherapy have poor to fair results.
The most common side effects experienced with sclerotherapy are:
- Itching: You may experience mild itching along the vein route. This normally lasts 1-2 days.
- Transient Hyperpigmentation: Approximately 30% of all patients, who undergo sclerotherapy notice a light brown discoloration after treatment. Nearly all patients notice a darkening of the vein immediately after the procedure. In rare instances the darkening may persist for 4 to 12 months.
- Sloughing: Sloughing occurs in less than 3% of patients who have received sclerotherapy. Sloughing consists of a small, slowly healing ulceration at the injections site. A blister may form, open, and become ulcerated. The scar that follows should return to a normal colour.
- Allergic Reactions: Very rarely a patient may have an allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent. This risk is greater in patients who have a history of allergic reactions.
- Pain: A few patients may experience moderate to severe pain and some bruising around the injection site. The veins may be tender to touch after the treatment and an uncomfortable sensation may be felt along the vein route. This pain is usually temporary lasting 1 to 7 days.