Sclerotherapy of varicose and spider veins – what does it involve?

5 October 2023
Women's legs where the first signs of varicose veins appear. En source: VistaCreate

Varicose veins and broken blood vessels on the lower limbs are a common problem. One method of treating these conditions is sclerotherapy. What is this treatment? Is it safe and is it worth it?

What is sclerotherapy?

Although the sclerotherapy procedure has been known and used in medicine for many years, it is still one of the more effective and frequently performed treatments for patients with varicose or spider veins.

The sclerotherapy treatment aims to close selected blood vessels, so that vascular spider veins and even varicose veins are reduced or completely disappear. How is this possible?

  • The procedure involves an injection or series of injections with a preparation that causes the blood vessel walls to shrink, fibrillate and close.
  • The injection is carried out precisely so that specific vascular lesions can be treated.

Due to the scope of the treatment, two versions are distinguished:

  • Sclerotherapy of varicose veins – as the name suggests, is used to reduce varicose veins. Sometimes the selected varicose vein will completely disappear after sclerotherapy, but this effect is not guaranteed. The reduction of the varicose veins itself is already a beneficial change for the patient. It also happens that the procedure has to be repeated when the varicose veins are larger.
  • Sclerotherapy of spider veins – helps to minimise the visibility and presence of the broken blood vessels that most commonly appear on the lower limbs. A reduction in vascular lesions should be visible after just one treatment.

Various substances may be used in sclerotherapy – the selection of a particular one is within the competence of the doctor performing the procedure. Varicose veins and spider veins are treated by phlebologists and vascular surgeons.

Indications and contraindications for sclerotherapy

Every cosmetic or aesthetic medical procedure requires adequate preparation, but also knowledge of whether it is advisable to perform it or not.

What are the indications for sclerotherapy treatment?

  • Varicose veins on the lower limbs – this is a common ailment that is not only an aesthetic problem, but can also have a significant impact on the comfort of life. The diseased veins and blood vessels cause discomfort and often pain. They may be accompanied by swelling. Varicose vein treatment using sclerotherapy is one of the most popular treatments.
  • Varicose veins of the intimate area and anus – occur less frequently, but can cause great physical and psychological discomfort.
  • Vascular spider veins – whether on the lower limbs or in any other location.

If you notice cracked blood vessels or varicose veins on your skin, make an appointment to see a phlebologist or vascular surgeon. After a Doppler ultrasound examination, the doctor will assess whether these lesions can be treated specifically with sclerotherapy.

What are the contraindications to sclerotherapy for varicose and spider veins?

  • Allergies to the agents used during the procedure.
  • Acute deep vein thrombosis.
  • Pulmonary embolism.
  • Pregnancy and lactation period.
  • Ongoing systemic infections.
  • Infections, skin lesions and irritation in the treatment area.
  • Certain blood diseases.

These are the most important of the contraindications to sclerotherapy, but each time the decision to perform this procedure is up to the patient and the doctor. The legitimacy of the procedure should be assessed, as well as the benefits it may bring, but at the same time also keeping in mind the potential complications.

Possible adverse reactions to sclerotherapy:

  • Pain in the injection area – usually passes by the second or third day after the procedure.
  • Skin discolouration, haematomas – these will disappear over time, but may persist for up to several months.

In addition to the above reactions, which may occur in some patients, very rare allergic symptoms, associated with local skin necrosis or with the development of venous thrombosis, are also mentioned. Exact information on the risk of adverse reactions is provided by the doctor qualifying for the procedure.

Sclerotherapy – effects, price, cost-effectiveness of the procedure

If you are interested in sclerotherapy treatment, you are no doubt wondering what results can be achieved and how much it costs. The most common effect of sclerotherapy for varicose veins is to make them smaller – the larger they are before treatment, the more difficult it will be to eradicate them with a single treatment. Fortunately, there is nothing to prevent the sclerotherapy treatment from being repeated. Sclerotherapy of blood vessels, on the other hand, causes them to fibrillate, close and reduce the visibility of spider veins.

How much does sclerotherapy cost? The price depends on the specific clinic, but also on the area of treatment and even whether you decide to have a single treatment or a series of them at once. For a single injection in a small area, you have to pay from £300 upwards. Considering that this will not only get rid of unsightly varicose or spider veins, but also the accompanying pain, it seems to be a cost-effective procedure that is definitely worth considering.

What are the recommendations after sclerotherapy treatment?

In order to avoid possible complications and increase the effectiveness of the procedure performed, it is necessary to:

  • Walk extensively immediately after treatment.
  • Wear a compression stocking for as long as recommended by your doctor.
  • Make cool compresses if swelling or pain occurs.
  • Make a follow-up appointment with the doctor after a set period of time (usually two weeks after the procedure).
  • Give up sauna visits, sunbathing and hot baths – for a period of several weeks.

Karol Popko

Karol Popko is an experienced author whose pen has been shining in the lifestyle world for many years. With his copywriting practice and insight into trends, he not only shares practical tips, but also opens up a deeper understanding of these topics to his readers. According to Karol, beauty can be found everywhere, and life is worth celebrating with passion and style.


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