What Is the Definition of Sclerotherapy for Varices?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive vein treatment that injects a sclerosant into an unhealthy vein. The sclerosant intentionally irritates the vein’s interior walls, which causes scar tissue that closes the vein. Sclerotherapy treats varices (varicose veins) and spider veins. Book an appointment with Harvard-trained vein experts to learn more about sclerotherapy.

Sclerosants come in liquid, foam, or pre-mixed foam concentrations. Vein doctors use various sclerosing concentrations depending on the size and tortuosity of the vein. Liquids are best for smaller veins. Foam works well in larger veins since it coats the walls and covers more surface area without increasing the dosage by much. Pre-mixed foam eliminates the step where vein doctors mix sclerosants with air to create foam. Our vein doctors will explain which sclerosant is advised for your unique vasculature.

How fast does sclerotherapy work? What can you expect from sclerotherapy after 1 week? It varies based on vein severity, but most patients see a marked improvement.

What Do They Inject Into Spider Veins and Varices?

Vein doctors inject sclerosants into spider veins and varicose veins to close them. Common sclerosants include polidocanol, sodium tetradecyl sulfate, sodium salicylate, and hypertonic saline. Most sclerosing solutions have a soap or detergent-like composition that bubbles up in the vein to irritate it. Older sclerosants have a saline composition that can burn a little more in the vein. Polidocanol is one of the most popular options. It’s used in the sclerotherapy treatments called Asclera and Varithena.

Does the Cryo Sclerotherapy Definition Include a Sclerosant?

Cryo sclerotherapy is a newer technique that applies a continuous flow of cold air to the injection site during sclerotherapy. Otherwise, the technique is the same. Vein doctors still inject a sclerosant. The cold air is not what closes the vein. It helps prevent sensitivity to the injection. Many treated areas don’t hurt when injected with sclerotherapy. The most patients will feel is a brief pinching sensation.

But some blood vessels, like those behind the knees, are more sensitive. So, cooling the area first, and also while injecting the sclerosant, can make sclerotherapy treatment even more comfortable. Doctors can use other tactics too, like applying a numbing cream to the skin before injection. Cryo sclerotherapy is an interesting new technique, but it’s not required for gentle pain treatment. There are other ways to ensure the patient’s comfort during sclerotherapy.

How Long Does a Vein Collapse Procedure Take?

Sclerotherapy spider vein treatments and varicose vein treatments take 15 to 30 minutes to complete. Since sclerotherapy doesn’t require general or local anesthesia, there’s no waiting period to begin treatment and no recovery period afterward. Wear loose clothing that the doctor can work around since you can probably wear your own clothing during treatment. Vein specialists clean and numb the skin, and then insert a needle into the vein, which they inject with a sclerosant. They might gently massage the treated area to encourage the sclerosant to spread, or they might apply gentle pressure or a bandage.

Patients can get up and walk around right after varicose and spider vein treatments with sclerotherapy because there is no anesthesia in the body. Some patients will need to wear compression stockings for a few days. But they can resume all normal activities, and even go back to work. You should avoid strenuous activities like weightlifting for a week or two if your doctor advises that. Ask your doctor when it’s safe to resume anti-inflammatory pain medicines you normally take.

How Does Sclerotherapy on Varices Look 1 Week Later?

Patients will already see a difference from sclerotherapy after 1 week. Any prior vein symptoms like cramping, itching, and swelling should be subsiding. The vein should be shrinking and fading, and any bruising or discomfort should be gone. By the one-week point, you might not need to wear compression stockings or avoid strenuous activities anymore. It will take a couple more weeks for the veins to disappear fully. Small spider veins might vanish faster, while large varicose veins could take a couple of months to fully disappear.

What to Expect After Vein Surgery vs Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical procedure, so there is no downtime for recovery. Patients can drive themselves to and from their appointment, take showers, and even resume moderate exercise. You won’t need to take time off work for sclerotherapy or schedule any caretakers to help you recover. Many patients even complete sclerotherapy during their lunch break and then head back to work.

There are no large wounds to heal, stitches to remove, or bandages to change. There are very few possible complications with sclerotherapy. If you see a sudden raised, warm, red spot, head to the hospital to rule out a blood clot. Clots often self-resolve, but sometimes they need treatment. Any other bruising, swelling, or soreness should resolve within a few days. Surgical varicose or spider vein removal has a different recovery process which you’ll learn about below. 

What Do Veins Look Like 1 Week Post Varicose Vein Surgery?

Varicose vein surgery is more invasive than sclerotherapy. It often requires spinal or general anesthesia and a hospital stay. Vein doctors make a series of incisions in the leg through which they access and pull the vein out. One week after varicose vein surgery, you won’t see a vast improvement in your veins. You’ll likely still have bruising and swelling from surgery.

Because of the anesthesia, you need someone to accompany you and drive you home from surgery. It takes longer to heal from surgery, so plan to take a few days off work. You won’t be able to shower or exercise right away. Your doctor will provide you with clear instructions. There are more risks associated with surgery, like anesthesia complications, infection, bleeding, and internal injury.

Visit our minimally invasive vein doctors if another doctor recommended vein surgery for you. Many patients are better suited to less invasive techniques that your surgeon may not be trained in. Surgery is almost never the best spider veins treatment, and it’s rarely ideal for varicose veins.

How Long Does Sclerotherapy Last?

When sclerotherapy is done correctly, it’s permanent. This innovative spider vein removal technique doesn’t remove the vein from the body by pulling it out. It removes it from circulation by sealing it shut. Surgically cutting veins can cause them to grow back. Sealing them shut doesn’t cause that. If you want your varicose or spider vein treatment to last, ask your vein specialist if you’re eligible for minimally invasive methods.

Where Is the Best Sclerotherapy Clinic Near Me in NY?

There are three award-winning sclerotherapy clinics near you in New York. Visit our Midtown vein clinic, our Financial District vein clinic, or our vein clinic in Hartsdale, New York. Each of these locations is run by Harvard-trained, board certified vein doctors who are leaders in their field. Dr. Juan Montoya, Dr. Sareh Rajaee, and Dr. Andrew Cortes are world-renowned for exceptional, innovative vein treatments.