Vein Sclerotherapy: Safe or Dangerous?
Vein Sclerotherapy is a relatively safe treatment for vein issues. Certainly, it has very few possible complications or side effects. In short, sclerotherapy is a newer procedure where we treat varicose and spider veins. The valves of the veins weaken which cause their appearance. Therefore, this situation causes the blood to back up or pool within the veins.
In other words, spider veins are generally those tiny thread like veins. Often the veins branch out from a center vein which gives them a “spider-like” appearance. Furthermore, these veins are just below the skin’s surface and usually appear on the hands, face, or legs. Additionally, spider veins can be red or blue or purple in color. On the other hand, varicose veins are larger and usually occur on the legs. Moreover, varicose veins often have a raised, ropey appearance and are bluish or purple in color.
During the sclerotherapy procedure, which usually takes about 15 to 40 minutes, we inject the vein with a sclerosant solution. This solution essentially “irritates” the lining of the vein, and causes it to swell and close. After that, the vein turns into a scar tissue, which then fades away.
Complications or Side Effects
There are a few complications or side effects associated with sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a safe procedure. However, it is a real medical procedure and you should not trivialize it and do it in a spa or salon. That is to say, this procedure has a serious possibility of side effects. Due to this, you should schedule your sclerotherapy procedure with a licensed and experienced physician. In addition, experienced nurses working under the direct supervision of experienced physicians can also perform the procedure. Some side effects of sclerotherapy include:
• Raised red areas
• Tiny sores
• Darkened skin
• Appearance of new tiny red vessels
However, these minor side effects will usually dissipate within a few days or a few weeks. You could also experience other less common side effects which may require further treatment. This includes:
• Trapped blood — Blood can be trapped in the treated vein. This causes mild pain and irritation and you may need draining.
• In rare cases, you can experience blood clots or deep vein thrombosis which would require immediate medical attention.
• Inflammation — This may appear at the injection site. It’s generally mild and you usually treat it with aspirin.
• If the sclerosant is foamed or mixed with air, with which we treat very large varicose veins — The air bubbles may go beyond the vein that we treated. Most importantly, these bubbles usually don’t cause any problems or symptoms. As a result, you could experience visual problems, headaches, and nausea. These symptoms will disappear after a short time. On the other hand, if it affected limb movement or sensation, you should contact a physician.
• Allergic reaction — The cause of an allergic reaction is usually the local anesthetic (lidocaine and epinephrine). But, it is very uncommon.
Is Sclerotherapy Safe? It is with St. Louis Laser Vein Center
There is always some risk associated with sclerotherapy. Meanwhile, the medical conditions that can arise if we leave the vein disease untreated can be far more serious. Dr. Wright and his staff at St. Louis Laser Vein Center urge anyone concerned about vein issues to schedule a medical evaluation. Our staff will determine the level of vein disease you may be experiencing. We understand how important it is to catch and treat vein disease as early as possible.