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Sclerotherapy Side Effects

Sclerotherapy Side Effects

Sclerotherapy has been a medical procedure to treat unsightly varicose veins and spider veins since the 1930s. It is a safe procedure in which the doctor injects a solution directly into the vein.

Where is Sclerotherapy Performed?

Sclerotherapy can be done right in our office as an outpatient. After the treatment area is cleaned, the solution is injected using very fine needles. Patients will feel a mild discomfort and perhaps cramping for one to two minutes when treating larger veins. The number of injections in one session will depend on the size and location of the veins as well as the patient’s general health. The procedure takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete.

Are There Preparations For Sclerotherapy?

We give our patients the following guidelines to prepare for the procedure:

  • avoid aspirin and anti-inflammatory drugs 48 hours before and after the procedure
  • Tylenol is permitted
  • safely discontinue (with doctor’s advice) using prednisone 48 hours before treatment
  • do not apply lotion before the treatment
  • bring shorts to wear during the procedure
  • bring any compression hosiery used in the past (to ensure adequate support after treatment)

What are the Sclerotherapy Side effects?

Sclerotherapy has some temporary side effects that usually go away within a few days or weeks. Larger veins that are treated may become hard or lumpy for several months, and then disappear. Raised, red areas may appear near the site of injection but will disappear in a few days. Brown spots or lines may form near the injection site. These are caused by a form of iron that flows from the blood into the treated veins; most of the time these disappear in six months or sooner. Bruising can occur near the injection site and may last from several days to a few weeks. Temporary blood vessels known as revascularization, “flares,” “mats,” or “blushing may develop. These should fade without further treatment in a few months. Occasionally some patients may have an allergic reaction to the sclerosing agent at the time of injection. Symptoms include swelling and itching and are rarely serious.

There are some other less common sclerotherapy side effects that may require treatment. Patients may develop inflammation, swelling and heat around the injection site. A blood clot may form that requires drainage. Small air bubbles in the blood stream may or may not cause symptoms such as headache, coughing, visual disturbances or nausea. It is important to call us if any problems with limb movement or unusual sensations are noted.

Some more serious sclerotherapy side effects can occur but are very rare. Contact us immediately if any of the following occur:

  • sudden onset of a swollen leg
  • small ulcers forming at the injection site
  • inflammation within five inches of the groin
  • streaking, especially in the groin area

What Happens After the Treatment?

Patients are allowed to drive themselves home after sclerotherapy. We encourage patients to resume normal activity and to walk. We will give instructions on wearing support hosiery or compression wraps. We give the following guidelines to follow for 48 hours.

  • continue to avoid aspirin or ibuprofen
  • wash injection site with warm water and a mild soap.
  • avoid baths, whirlpools or saunas
  • showers are permitted
  • Avoid direct exposure to sunlight or tanning beds

Call Dr Hadjibian if you have any concerns or questions about sclerotherapy side effects.