Sclerotherapy vein removal
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure that aims to treat varicose veins and spider veins. The treatment is administered by injection, without requiring surgical intervention.
Sclerotherapy is often considered the main procedure of choice for smaller veins and can be used to treat troublesome veins on various areas of the body, including the legs and hands.
Before beginning treatment, a vascular surgeon must carry out a diagnostic scan to ensure sclerotherapy is the best solution for you.
What is sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical vein treatment which involves injecting a chemical foam sclerosant into varicose or thread veins. The solution works by collapsing the affected blood vessels, which then stick together and turn into virtually invisible scar tissue.
How is sclerotherapy performed?
Your vascular surgeon will carry out an ultrasound scan to determine the severity of your varicose veins and how many sessions will be needed to achieve the desired results.
The procedure involves your surgeon using a fine needle to inject the damaged vein with a sclerosing agent. The liquid or foam injected causes the walls of the treated vein to shut, so blood flow is redirected back to the healthy veins. Over the next few weeks up to a month, the body dissolves the vein, making it less visible and uncomfortable.
Depending on how deep the troublesome veins are located, the surgeon may need to carry out an ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy, to reach and treat beyond the surface veins and into the larger veins beneath.
When to consider injection sclerotherapy:
- The veins are causing pain
- There are rashes near the veins
- The skin on the affected area is flaky, dry and red
- The legs feel heavy
At The Harley Medical Group, sclerotherapy treatment is carried out on an outpatient basis, with efficient results and minimal downtime. The procedure takes 30 minutes to an hour, meaning you can return back to your daily activities immediately.
- Pain relief
- Improved cosmetic appearance
- Minimal downtime for recovery
- Non-surgical approach
- Efficient, long-lasting results delivered by board certified and GMC registered surgeons
Sclerotherapy recovery process
You may experience minor cramping, stinging, or burning in the injected vein during the procedure, however, most of our patients have reported minimal pain.
Once you've had the treatment, the injection site may feel slightly sore for a few days. Your surgeon will advise to avoid strenuous exercise for a few days and wear appropriate compression stockings. Your doctor will prescribe you with the correct anti-swelling medication and painkillers.
Sclerotherapy healing time can last up to 6 weeks, depending on the number of treatments needed and the severity of your condition.
Risks & side effects
Varicose veins sclerotherapy has minimal side effects ranging from temporary bruising and swelling, to minor discomfort. These should all subside in a few days. More serious and uncommon side effects include allergic reactions to the sclerosant solution, the formation of blood clots in the treated areas or deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Breathing improves and the sense of smell and taste returns to normal. The scars usually heal fully, without leaving any visible marks; Bruising is likely to occur around the eyes, but will fully subside within two weeks. Minor swelling can be experienced for up to a year post-surgery.
Sclerotherapy before and after
TIP: Drag the slider bar left and right to view before and after projections.
*Computer generated images for illustrative purposes only. The actual result may be subject to variation upon completion of the procedure.
Meet the Experts
If you were treated for superficial varicose veins or thread veins, you can expect to start seeing results within three weeks. Larger veins may require multiple treatments to achieve the results you want, so the recovery time will be higher for these.
Mild discomfort and bruising after sclerotherapy should fully subsite in 2-6 weeks, but you can go back to normal activities after 48 hours. Although it may take a few treatment courses before the veins fully disappear, the results are very long-lasting.
Compression stockings should be worn for approximately 2 weeks post-treatment.
Sclerotherapy is permanent. The effects of the sclerosant agent is irreversible, meaning that once the veins dissolve, they are gone forever. The treatment doesn't act as a preventive measure against varicose or spider veins, but it also doesn't increase the likelihood of further reoccurrence either.
The solution normally used for this treatment is called sodium tetradecyl sulphate (STD) and can be adjusted depending on the size of the treated vein. Other commonly used sclerosing agents are polidocanol and hypertonic saline solutions.
Exercise, workouts or high intensity activities should be avoided for at least 24 hours after each procedure, and “pounding” activity such as jogging and aerobics should be avoided for 7 days.
You should not fly for at least 3 weeks after treatment if you underwent ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy does not aggravate existing veins or cause more spider veins to form. It also doesn't prevent new veins from forming.
It is important that your decision to have a vein procedure is considered carefully.
There are some possible risks, as with all surgical operations, which your vascular surgeon will talk through and explain to you at your consultation. This is your opportunity to discuss your intended surgery in order for the surgeon to ascertain your expectations as to what can realistically be achieved.
Every vascular surgeon who performs sclerotherapy or any other type of vein treatment for The Harley Medical Group belongs to a relevant professional organisation, is fully accredited to practice in the UK as a specialist in plastic surgery, and has specific training and experience in aesthetic plastic surgery.
Our nurses advise that you consider the following things before your treatment:
- Child care and post surgery activities
- That you have the necessary post-operative garments
- The downtime required to rest and stay away from your usual activities
- The lifespan of your results
Our vascular surgeons are among the most skilled, qualified and experienced in the UK cosmetic surgery field and our fully qualified nurses are specially selected for their expertise and approachability. It is your body, so naturally you will want to place it in safe and trusted hands.