Sclerotherapy is the most commonly used procedure to treat varicose and spider veins and is performed by injecting a solution directly into your vein.
Our vein care specialists understand that each varicose or spider vein diagnosis is unique. That's why we take a patient-centered approach to your care, which means you'll have attentive physicians and staff dedicated to delivering the best possible outcomes.
Led by our Vein Center Director, Stuart B. Pink, MD, FACC, FSCAI, RPVI, our staff of physicians, nurses, and specialists are trained in all types of blood vessel conditions. Every year, our specialists - including Nitin Jaluria, MD, FACC, Robert Martin, MD, and Margaret Kueny-Beck, PA-C - treat hundreds of people with varicose and spider veins.
This procedure diminishes varicose and spider veins with tiny needle injections of a medication that collapses the vein, which will later be absorbed into the body.
In most cases of sclerotherapy, a salt solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into your vein. The solution irritates the lining of your blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and your blood to clot. Over time, your vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.
The procedure takes 15-30 minutes. You may experience mild discomfort and cramping for 1-2 minutes, especially when larger veins are injected.
The number of veins injected in one session varies and depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as your general medical condition. Sclerotherapy is performed in your doctor's office.
There is a type of sclerotherapy called ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (or echo-sclerotherapy). This type of sclerotherapy uses ultrasound imaging to guide the needle. It can be useful in treating veins that cannot be seen on your skin’s surface. It may also be used if the spider veins return. This procedure also can be done in your doctor's office.
After the procedure, your treated vein(s) will no longer be able to fill with blood, forcing the blood to reroute through healthier veins.
You may experience certain side effects after sclerotherapy. There are milder effects, such as itching, which can last for one or two days after the procedure. Also, you may experience raised, red areas at the injection site. These should disappear within a few days. Bruising may also occur around the injection site and can last several days or weeks.
You'll be able to resume normal activities immediately after sclerotherapy however, you should avoid strenuous activities for 1-2 weeks. To prevent blood clots, you will wear compression socks or bandages for several days or weeks following the procedure.
The same vein may need to be treated more than once. Treatments are usually done every four to six weeks.
Call the UPMC in South Central Pa. Vein Center at: 717-920-4500
UPMC Vein Center
2808 Old Post Road
Harrisburg, PA 17110
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