Varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency is uncomfortable at best but may cause dangerous health problems if untreated. Sclerotherapy is a time-tested treatment that is one of the most effective ways to get rid of varicose veins forever. The procedure is a minimally invasive treatment that involves injecting a chemical called a sclerosant directly into the varicose vein.
How Does Sclerotherapy Work?
Sclerotherapy has been effectively used in various forms since the 19th century, but the latest technology in the past few decades has improved the treatment to make it even more effective.
Several affected veins may be treated in one sitting. The chemical coagulates the blood in the vein and irritates the vein walls and valves. This makes the vein collapse and seal off so new blood cannot use it. The blood naturally flows through the many other healthy veins.
Your veins have tiny valves inside that open and close as the heart pushes the blood against gravity, up your legs back to the heart. When the valves close, they prevent the blood from flowing backward. In varicose veins, these valves have become weak because the vein wall is no longer functioning properly, so they fail to block the blood, which means the blood pools in the vein and gradually stretches it out of shape. This is your varicose vein.
Who is a Good Candidate for Sclerotherapy?
The best way to know if you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy is to have a consultation with our vein specialist and have your veins examined. Some of the signs that you may be a good candidate are:
• You are not pregnant or breastfeeding and it is at least three months since you delivered
• You are 30 – 60 years old
• You have realistic expectations about the results
• You understand that new varicose veins could form
• You are willing to follow our instructions before and after the treatment
• You have no history of blood clots
• You are not bedridden
• The vein being removed is not suitable for a future bypass
What to Expect
If you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy, we may conduct a Doppler ultrasound to get a picture of the affected veins and the extent of the problem. The exam may also determine if you have any underlying problems that also need to be treated. You should mention at this time if you have any medical conditions such as coagulation disorder, heart disease, preexisting cancer, or diabetes.
You will be asked about any prescription and over-the-counter medications you take, including herbal remedies and dietary supplements. At this time you should mention if you are allergic to any medications. You may be asked to stop certain medications before the treatment. If you take oral contraceptives or smoke, you may be asked to stop for some time before and after the procedure because they can increase the risk of blood clots.
The procedure will be performed in our office and does not require anesthesia. If you would like a topical cream to numb the injection site, we will provide it. You will lie on your back with your legs slightly raised. The treatment area will be cleaned. The treatment may take about 15 – 30 minutes depending on the number of veins being treated.
For large varicose veins, we may recommend foam sclerotherapy. This is basically the same as regular sclerotherapy but the sclerosant is whipped into foam before being injected into the vein. This is more suitable for large varicose veins because the foam moves easier along the vein than the liquid does and covers the whole vein wall.
What Happens After the Treatment?
Depending on how many varicose veins you have that require treatment it may take several sessions to treat them all. The procedure is quick and you should stand up and walk around immediately afterward to maximize circulation and prevent blood clots.
Our specialist will put gentle pressure on each treated vein to make sure it is closed. You will be asked to wear compression stockings for a few weeks to keep the pressure on the treated veins, but you may be able to return to normal daily activities right after the procedure. Keep the treated area out of the sun for at least two weeks. The collapsed vein is useless and is absorbed by the surrounding tissue and gradually eliminated from the body. It will disappear after a few weeks.
Can Varicose Veins Be Prevented?
Once your varicose veins are gone, they will not come back. However, you can develop new varicose veins if your lifestyle promotes them. If you stand or sit for hours every day, it becomes difficult for the heart to pump the blood against gravity. Sitting and obesity both put pressure on the legs and make the veins work harder. This is why they wear out sooner and become varicose. Similarly, standing for hours makes it difficult for the blood to be pushed up the legs back to the heart and they gradually wear out.
You may be able to prevent new veins from developing insufficiency if you get enough exercise every day to strengthen the muscles in the legs that help with circulations. If you sit for hours, you should get up and walk around for about five to ten minutes every hour. If you stand all day, you should make it a point to sit with your feet raised for a few minutes several times a day. Since varicose veins are hereditary, it is important to take care that they don’t develop.
Get In Touch with Us for More Information
Sclerotherapy is a proven, effective, minimally invasive treatment to get rid of varicose veins and spider veins. Varicose veins uncomfortable, but you don’t need to live with them any longer. To learn more, we warmly invite you to make an appointment with MacMed Spa. At our convenient locations in Milford, Framingham, and Hopedale, our caring and dedicated team of professionals will be pleased to explain this option to you in full and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up your consultation – we look forward to speaking with you!