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Sclerotherapy


What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure whereby a chemical, the sclerosant, is injected into a vein to entirely obliterate it. The sclerosant damages the innermost lining of the vessel, resulting in a clot that blocks the blood circulation in the vein beyond. Veins carry unoxygenated blood from the peripheral tissues back to the heart. Since the blood pressure in the veins is low, the blood is pumped by forward by contractions of the heart. To prevent back-flow, most veins have valves that only allow blood only to flow in the direction of the heart. When these valves become incompetent, veins become enlarged and bulging (varicose). Smaller veins that feed these varicose veins can also become enlarged and appear as red or blue spider veins in the skin. Varicose veins can lead to a chronic swelling condition of the leg called venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency predisposes a person to blood clots and skin ulceration. Even more frequently, damaged veins are manifested as unsightly spider veins. The destruction of these types of veins can be desirable both medically and cosmetically.

Is sclerotherapy safe?

All medical procedures have risks that should be considered carefully prior to embarking on a particular treatment. Since sclerotherapy is frequently used to treat cosmetic problems, untoward and dangerous side effects are fully explained to the patient.

Does sclerotherapy hurt?

Because this procedure requires injections through the skin, it is not a painless procedure. Certain chemicals that are injected (sclerosants) are more likely to cause pain than others. If the sclerosant is deposited outside the vein inadvertently, this is often more painful.

Is sclerotherapy an effective treatment for varicose ve