Sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure used to treat varicose veins, “spider veins”, and peripheral arterial disease. An injection of a solution (generally sodium chloride) is injected directly into an artery or vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell, stick together, and blood to clot in the treated vein. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.
Sclerotherapy works well for most patients with varicose veins. It is estimated that as many as 50 percent to 80 percent of injected varicose veins may be eliminated with each injection session.
Sclerotherapy is performed in a doctor’s office. The number of varicose veins injected in one session is variable, depending on the size and location of the veins, and the patient’s overall medical condition. Mild discomfort may occur, and a cramping sensation may be felt for 1 to 2 minutes when larger varicose veins are injected.
In general, spider veins respond to treatment in 3 to 6 weeks, and larger veins respond in 3 to 4 months. If the veins respond to the treatment, they will not reappear. However, new veins may appear over time.