a doctor performing sclerotherapy on varicose veins in new york

What Kind of Substance Does a Doctor Inject Into Your Veins During Sclerotherapy?

If you suffer from varicose veins or spider veins, you might have considered sclerotherapy as a treatment option.

This medical procedure is designed to get rid of enlarged, uncomfortable veins by injecting a special solution directly into them, irritating the blood vessel lining and causing the collapse of the vein. Afterward, the blood clots together, and the vein becomes scar tissue that fades over time. 

Who is Sclerotherapy Best for? 

Generally, dermatologists and vascular specialists are the doctors to visit for a sclerotherapy recommendation. The treatment isn’t suited for pregnant women, women on birth control medication, or people who have a history of blood clots. 

Additionally, if the varicose vein in question could be used for bypass surgery, doctors will generally not recommend sclerotherapy unless the vein has already been rendered unusable. 

How Sclerotherapy Works 

Sclerotherapy involves an injection of a salt solution directly into an enlarged vein using a fine needle. The procedure takes between 15 and 30 minutes in total. Some patients experience a few minutes of discomfort or cramping after the procedure. 

The patient’s overall health, as well as the location and size of the veins, will determine how many veins can be treated in a single session. 

How to Prepare for Your Sclerotherapy Appointment

In order to get your body ready for sclerotherapy, doctors recommend avoiding certain medications. This can include over-the-counter pain medicine like ibuprofen and aspirin, dietary supplements, and even certain herbs, as well as a lotion applied to the legs. 

If you’ve been on antibiotics prior to your treatment, make sure to let your doctor know. 

Sclerotherapy Side Effects 

The side effects of sclerotherapy tend to be relatively mild. These can include itching in the area one to two days post-procedure, bruising around the site of the injection for several days, or raised red spots near where the injection took place. In some cases, larger veins that have been treated will become hardened and lumpy, taking a few months to completely dissolve.

Some patients experience temporary brown spots or lines near the treatment site. Additionally, many patients notice small new blood vessels developing near the area, which is referred to as neovascularization. These usually take a few weeks post-procedure to appear and generally fade within a few months. 

Recovery from Sclerotherapy 

Sclerotherapy recipients should be able to resume regular activity immediately after treatment. The treatment area should be supported by wearing compression stockings.


Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided for 48 hours after treatment. Doctors recommend washing the injection site with lukewarm water to reduce the likelihood of inflammation. 

Is It Effective? 

Studies show a rate of vein elimination between 50% and 80% as a result of sclerotherapy. Less than 10% of recipients fail to respond to the treatment. 

Generally, patients notice complete removal of spider veins within three to six months after treatment and complete removal of larger varicose veins within three to four months after treatment.

Ready to get rid of your varicose veins for good? Contact Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center today!

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