– Injection Sclerotherapy –
Injection sclerotherapy is a common treatment for various types of varicose vein. A substance called a sclerosant is injected into the vein through a fine needle. The sclerosant irritates the vein lining causing the vein to go into spasm and contract. It also causes any blood still in the vein to clot. This reaction causes inflammation around the vein which is destroyed and eventually absorbed by the body.
Types of Sclerotherapy
Standard (liquid) Sclerotherapy
In this treatment, sclerosant is injected directly in to the vein. Pressure is applied to the injected vein using a cotton or foam pad and often an elastic stocking is used to compress the vein. This is suitable for most small varicose veins where there is no underlying problem with the main draining veins of the skin, or where the main veins have been already treated and the aim is to treat any residual (or remaining) varicose veins. We don’t commonly use this treatment method at RejuvaMed.
This is a technique for treating larger varicose veins which we use much more frequently. Most commonly we use this treatment to treat residual varicose veins after radiofrequency (RF) ablation. It can also be used to treat the main trunk veins as a first line treatment, but RF ablation usually provides a more reliable and long-lasting result.
The sclerosant is mixed with air in a syringe to form a foam. This is injected in to the varicose veins, usually under ultrasound guidance to ensure the foam spreads through the target vein. The vein becomes inflamed and then is absorbed by the body over several weeks. A compression stocking is usually worn for the first week following treatment which speeds up the process.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Am I suitable for foam sclerotherapy?
Mr Salaman will need to see the extent of the varicose veins and will usually perform a duplex ultrasound scan of the vein system to define the anatomy of your particular varicose veins. He will then be able to discuss treatment options. Foam sclerotherapy is usually reserved for treating larger varicose veins which are unsuitable for radiofrequency ablation.
What will the procedure involve?
Sclerosant will be mixed with air to form a foam which is then injected in to the target vein. This is performed under ultrasound guidance to endure the foam filled the vein to be treated. The injection is almost painless though the foam may sting slightly as it is injected. The entire procedure will usually take 15 to 30 minutes.
Following the injections the vein needs to be compressed by a cotton or foam pad and a strong elastic stocking worn. This should be worn for at least a week until the expected inflammation and lumpiness subsides. Normal activity and exercise can continue, including driving.
It can take several weeks for inflammation to subside. At a review appointment, the veins will be reassessed and further injections may be required to achieve the desired result.
How should I prepare for my treatment?
No specific preparation is required and people can walk in and walk out as normal as well as being able to drive to and from the clinic. After the treatment you will be wearing a tight stocking with pads underneath, so wearing loose fitting trousers or a long skirt is advisable. It is recommended to avoid international travel or prolonged inactivity for at least 6 to 8 weeks following treatment as the risk of deep vein thrombosis is increased.
What are the risks?
Common complications are soreness, bruising and inflammation. These can be treated by wearing the elastic stocking, taking standard anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and continuing to exercise and staying active. Some pigmentation of the skin is common and usually resolves after several weeks.
Occasionally, skin pigmentation can be permanent. Rarely the skin can be damaged and ulcerate creating a wound. This will heal but can leave a scar. Very rarely the treatment can cause a deep vein thrombosis.
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