Before You Go
Questions to ask your doctor:
- What can I do to improve the circulation of my blood vessels before sclerotherapy?
- If sclerotherapy is not immediately successful, and my veins become lumpier before improving, are there any oral medications or topical creams I can use to help them heal quicker?
Pre-procedure prep for sclerotherapy: 24 hours before sclerotherapy, do not shave or apply lotion to your legs when treating spider or varicose veins that affect the legs.
On the day of treatment: On treatment day, plan to wear shorts or a short skirt for the treatment of leg veins.
What To Expect
During sclerotherapy, saline solution or another injectable, like Asclera, is injected directly into the vein using a thin needle, irritating the lining of the blood vessel so that the vein is forced to swell and the blood to clot.
For larger veins, a foamy version of saline solution may be used, since this can cover and collapse a larger surface area than liquid can. Once the blood vessels collapse, they heal and turn into barely noticeable scar tissue.
Who should do it: Sclerotherapy is performed in the doctor's office by a dermatologist or a surgeon. The efficacy of sclerotherapy depends largely on the expertise of the practitioner.
Duration: Each injection takes about 10 seconds. Your office visit should take 15 to 30 minutes overall.
How Painful Is It?
Patients may feel mild discomfort, like stinging or cramping, for one to two minutes, especially when larger veins are injected. Severe pain could be a sign that the fluid has leaked out of the vein and into the surrounding tissues. Don't suffer in silence! Tell your doctor if you're feeling intense pain.
Options for anesthesia: Sclerotherapy does not require an anesthetic, although many injections these days contain lidocaine to ease the discomfort of the procedure.