Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Sclerotherapy is when a chemical is injected into the veins to destroy it. It is done in outpatient setting, therefore does not require an anaesthetic and you can resume normal activities the following day. An ultrasound machine is commonly used on larger veins to guide the injection process and the chemical as foam is injected. The number of needles (injections) can vary from 3 to 10 depending on the amount treated and number of legs treated. Following the procedure, you need to wear stockings for two weeks.

Sclerotherapy is effective, but when treating large areas or large veins, it requires multiple injections and may need to be repeated every few years as it has higher recurrence rate compared with other options.

What are the benefits of this procedure?

The procedure provides a less invasive, non surgical treatment option for varicose veins. It is preformed as outpatient setting with no general anaesthesia or hospitalisation required. Most people can return to work the following day and causes minimal disruption to your life. For patients with multiple coexisting medical problems it provides a safe alternative to surgery.

Are there any alternatives to this procedure?

It is important to have a discussion with your surgeon about which option is right for you and the potential benefits, limitations of injections.

What is involved?

Prior to you procedure you will need a duplex scan of the veins. A duplex scan is similar to an ultrasound scan in which jelly is placed on your legs and a detailed picture to show the veins and identify where the problem areas.

Well fitting compression stockings are an important part of the post injection regime and therefore you should have your stocking available to put on immediately after you injection.

The procedure will take place in the Out Patient’s Department. Although the procedure will take approximately 45mins to 1 hour you should allow 2 to 3 hours for the visit. You should wear loose trousers, shorts or skirts to your appointment as stockings will need to fit under them. Please wear flat shoes so that you can walk comfortably after the procedure.

A fine needle is used and guided by ultrasound. The ultrasound probe is able to track the needle entering the vein and ensure the injection takes place in the appropriate place. The dispersion of foam is then tracked by ultrasound.

What happens after the procedure?

You will have your compression stocking to mid thigh put on after the procedure. Stockings should be worn at all times day and night for the next 2 weeks. After three days you may remove them for a shower and then put them back on. Cover stocking with a plastic bag prior to this when showering.

You will be asked to have a walk immediately after treatment for the next 15 to 20 minutes. After that time you can carry on normal daily activities. But avoid vigorous or strenuous activities. Try to avoid standing still for long periods. If you are on your feet it is better to keep walking and if sitting keep your legs elevated.

Your leg may feel sore for a day or two following your procedure. If this happens take some simple analgesia such as Paracetemol. It is important you remain mobile. You should aim to walk at least 30 minutes per day. Do not confine yourself to bed.

You will attend a review appointment 6 weeks after you procedure. Please bring your stocking.

Normal effects from Sclerotherapy

Potential Complications

Next: Back to treatment options for varicose veins.