Sclerotherapy involves injecting unwanted thread veins with a dilute substance that causes inflammation of the vein wall and causes the vessel to seal up. The body then naturally clears away the remains of the vein over several weeks. Thread veins on the legs respond well to both sclerotherapy and laser treatment, whereas thread veins on the face respond more effectively to laser treatment.
What does it involve?
Small amounts of the chemical are injected into the vein. Our dermatologist uses the smallest possible needle to minimize discomfort and usually no special pain relief measures are needed, although local anaesthetic cream can be applied before-hand used if desired.
What measures should be taken afterwards?
Following treatment, the injection sites are covered with small cotton wool and tape dressings that can be removed next day. Although support hosiery are not essential, if they are worn for up to a couple of weeks after the treatment they speed up the time taken for the body to eliminate the damaged vein and reduce the chance of side effects. Normal daily activities can be resumed immediately, but heavy exercise and swimming are best avoided for a few days afterwards. Hot baths are best avoided for 4 weeks to reduce the chance of the blood vessels opening up again.
Are there any side effects?
Sclerotherapy has been safely used throughout the world for many years usually without any significant problems. Immediately after the injections there may be some redness, wealing and bruising which settle in a few days. Occasional side effects include temporary and sometimes permanent skin discoloration, or skin ulcers that may leave scars (although in the rare even of a scar, this can be easily reversed with scar treatments).
Although it is not essential, wearing some support hosiery afterwards for a couple of weeks can maximize the success of the treatment and reduce the chance of developing pigment changes.