Is Sclerotherapy Safe?

A Patient and Doctor Discussion on Sclerotherapy

Is Sclerotherapy Safe?

Patient: I'm not ashamed to say I was a little nervous when the doctor told me I could benefit from a clinical procedure to treat my varicose veins. He said that it was not unusual to have some pain from these ugly veins, but there was a nonsurgical way to eliminate them. With this method, the healing would be faster than most other treatment options. My immediate reaction was is sclerotherapy safe? What does it involve, and what are the risks? I decided to educate myself on the procedure to answer those questions.

"Dr. Keyhani, What are Varicose Veins?"

Dr. Keyhani: The first thing to understand is what is causing the pain and discoloration in the first place. Veins have little valves in them that keep blood from flowing downwards. Muscles in the veins push it upward past a value and then it shuts to hold the blood in place. Varicose veins pop up when the valves stop working effectively and the blood moves backwards to pool. It is the blood that causes that purple color. (to read more about varicose veins please click here)

"Doctor, What is Sclerotherapy?"

Dr. Keyhani: When you have the sclerotherapy procedure, a vein specialist, either Dr. Arash Keyhani or Dr. Kourosh Keyhani, injects the affected veins with a sclerosing solution. That means a drug that causes the vein to shrink and disappear. Varicose veins are of no use to the body, because they don't properly move blood anyway. Once the vein shrinks down, it will dissolve and the body absorbs it.

"Is Sclerotherapy Safe?"

Dr. Keyhani: It is safe, but, like all medical procedures, there can be a few side effects. In some cases after the slcerotherapy, bruising can occur or you can get a brown stain that lasts for a little while. We may opt to drain clotted blood from under the skin a couple of weeks after the treatment to help eliminate these marks. Some people also experience matting around the injection site. This is a web of tiny blood vessels that usually resolves itself after a few months.

The good news is the sclerotherapy is a noninvasive procedure. There is no incision or cutting, only the injection. There is little risk of infection or bleeding. With any treatment, there is always the possibility of an allergic reaction to the solution, but that is rare.

The surgical treatment option means a longer recovery time. With sclerotherapy, the procedure is fast and healing takes little time which means you can be back on your feet almost right away. It is recommended to wear heavy compression stockings to help support the treated veins, but it would not affect my activities.

The key is to use a reliable and trusted vascular clinic for your sclerotherapy. Most technicians undergo extensive training to learn to administer the procedure safely and effectively.