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How Does Sclerotherapy Work?

Spider veins on the legs and other body parts can be a visual nuisance. In some cases, they may cause discomfort, swelling, pain, and itchiness, especially if they are prominent or severe.

Since masking them with concealers and using topical creams for relief hardly fixes the problem, people look to medical treatments like sclerotherapy for a more effective and permanent solution. The goal is to eliminate the appearance of these venous disorders and the symptoms that come with them.

Sclerotherapy is quick, minimally invasive, and provides a more permanent and safe way to eliminate spider veins. To understand why this procedure is effective, let’s closely examine these unwanted veins and how sclerotherapy can make them disappear.

Why Do Spider Veins Appear?

Before we get to the solution, let’s learn about the problem. What are spider veins? What causes them to show up on our bodies? Though these twisted veins are common, what makes others more prone to it? 

Some people are more susceptible to developing them due to genetic factors, aging, obesity, pregnancy, prolonged sitting or standing, lack of physical activity, or previous veinous conditions. For spider veins commonly appearing on the face and neck, the culprits are typically genes, aging, lack of movement, and excessive sun exposure.

Varicose and spider veins are essentially an issue related to blood flow. The veins’ work in the body is to pump blood to the heart with the help of muscle movement. Normally, this happens in a gravity-defying flow that moves blood in a single direction. But when the valves weaken, the flow becomes two-way, causing some blood to flow back to the veins. 

This back leak causes the veins to dilate and the blood to pool, resulting in the raised, bluish appearance of a smaller, thread-like web known as spider veins. 

How Sclerotherapy Benefits People With Venous Disorders

Woman's legs with spider veins showing and a blob with the words "how sclerotherapy benefits people with venous disorders" written on it

Sclerotherapy is an FDA-approved, minimally invasive medical procedure that treats spider veins. Administered by a certified healthcare provider, it entails injecting a special solution into unwanted veins to seal them and make them gradually disappear. The body then reabsorbs the dead vein tissues, and the bulge goes away. 

When a vein is blocked with sclerotherapy, the blood flow is rerouted to a healthier vein while the problematic vein collapses.

It’s important to know how sclerotherapy works so patients can know what’s happening in their bodies, the results they can realistically expect, and why keeping veins healthy is important.

Other Vein Conditions Treated by Sclerotherapy

Aside from eliminating or minimizing the appearance of spider veins, sclerotherapy also treats the symptoms of those conditions, like swelling, aches and pain, skin changes, and discomfort in the veins.

It also fixes venous insufficiency, hemorrhoids, peripheral vascular malformation (or the abnormal formations of blood vessels in the lymphatic system), and lymphangiomas (the abnormal, fluid-filled clusters of cysts that form during fetal development). 

Who Is Eligible for Sclerotherapy Treatment?

People with vein issues should consult a certified medical professional who will assess if sclerotherapy is the best approach. Factors like health history, health conditions, previous and current medications, and supplements taken will be part of the evaluation process.

People who are pregnant, breastfeeding, immobile, or bedridden, and those with active deep vein and superficial vein thrombosis are ineligible for sclerotherapy.  Those who have had blood clotting conditions in the past may not qualify for the treatment, but this will depend on the cause and severity of the clot as well as the healthcare provider’s assessment.

What To Expect From Sclerotherapy 

If you decide to undergo sclerotherapy, here’s what will happen.

Consultation and Preparation

During the consultation, a medical professional will examine your problematic veins and interview you about your medical history, current health, and medications to help determine if you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy. 

You may also be asked to undergo an ultrasound to locate which vein to inject more accurately. Multiple sessions may also be required to treat all unwanted veins effectively. The doctor will discuss how the treatment works and what to expect during and after the procedure.

Administering the Injection

How does sclerotherapy work? Once you and your doctor are ready to proceed with sclerotherapy, your healthcare practitioner will insert a fine needle to inject a sclerotherapy solution known as a sclerosant. 

You may experience a mild burning or cramping sensation as the fluid is injected, especially if the varicose vein is large.

What Are Sclerosants?

Sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical solution directly into the varicose or spider vein. The solution used is called a sclerosant. The sclerosant family includes sodium tetradecyl sulfate (STS), polidocanol, glycerin, hypertonic saline, and ethanolamine oleate. 

Sclerosants are chemical compounds that work by irritating the lining of the affected blood vessels, causing them to collapse, seal off, and eventually disappear. Available in various concentrations, your doctor will recommend the type of sclerosant you need based on the severity and location of the targeted veins.

One of the more popular brands is Asclera. During sclerotherapy, Asclera is injected into the diseased vein with a microneedle.

Most sclerosants are liquid mixtures that can easily penetrate small veins. However, for large veins and severe cases, foam sclerosants are used. This is because foam medications are more efficient at contacting all sides of the vein. 

What Happens After the Injection?

Once the sclerosant is injected into the targeted vein, the vein’s inner walls begin to break down. A small blood clot forms, cutting off the blood flow and causing the vein to lose oxygen and eventually collapse. 

The body reabsorbs the dead vein tissues, thereby reducing or eliminating their bulging appearance.   

For severe or complex cases, follow-up treatments may be necessary to fully collapse the vein.

Commonly Asked Questions About Sclerotherapy 

Getting your veins injected with a chemical solution may seem scary. You may wonder if it’s really effective, safe, and worth the trouble.

Let’s address some commonly asked questions to help you make an informed decision.

How Long Does the Treatment Take? 

This procedure does not require an anesthetic, so it will be over in under an hour. During the procedure, the doctor will disinfect the affected areas before starting with injections. A microneedle or very fine needle will be used to inject the sclerosant into the targeted vein. You may experience a minimal sting when the needle pricks your skin.

How Quickly Does the Treatment Work?

It takes a few weeks to a few months for visible results to appear, but this will depend on the severity of the treated veins. There are also post-treatment guidelines that maximize and speed up results. 

These include wearing compression stockings, elevating your treated leg, avoiding sun exposure, avoiding non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and incorporating moderate exercises into your daily routine to boost blood circulation.  

How Long Will the Results of Sclerotherapy Last?

Sclerotherapy results are permanent because the problematic veins collapse and cease to exist. However, new varicose or spider veins may still appear if the blood vessels become unhealthy. 

Some severe cases may need multiple sessions with 2 to 8 weeks intervals to get optimum results, while other less severe cases can get the desired results in one session.  Learn more about why sclerotherapy is right for you here.

Consider Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins

Getting sclerotherapy is a safe and effective solution to bothersome veins. Aside from cosmetic reasons, treating your disordered veins also prevents them from progressing, causing more swelling, heaviness, discomfort, pain, or itching. 

When choosing where to have your sclerotherapy, it’s vital to have a certified healthcare professional with the right specialization and experience administering the treatment. Like any medical procedure, mistakes can lead to adverse effects. Any error or miscalculation in patient assessment, choice of sclerosants, vein location, and injection can cause health and safety risks.

At NY Metropolitan Vein & Aesthetics Center, our team of medical specialists are experts when it comes to procedures like sclerotherapy. We use medications, instruments, and facilities that adhere to strict FDA standards to ensure the safety of our patients.

NY Metropolitan Vein & Aesthetics Center: For a Healthier, More Confident You

Sclerotherapy is a quick and relatively easy procedure with practically no downtime. You can resume your daily routine after the procedure. Just avoid strenuous activities during the first two weeks. 

With our help, you can permanently say goodbye to those tortuous veins in a few weeks or months. 

It’s time to address your vein problems with the NY Metropolitan Vein & Aesthetic Center. Experience this low-risk, minimally invasive, and highly successful treatment sought by many under the expert hands of our professional team. If you’re bothered by bulging, prominent veins, book an appointment with us.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. With sclerotherapy, you can get smoother, clearer skin as well as better vein function and circulation without the complications of surgical procedures. Contact us or visit any of our locations today.

Washington Heights, NY
4915 Broadway Suite 1A
New York, NY 10034

Corona, Queens
37-73 103rd St.
Corona, NY 11368

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