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Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat varicose veins and spider veins. This procedure will see the injection of a chemical solution or salt solution directly into the vein, causing over time the vein to shrink. Sclerotherapy treatment is a standard treatment for people with these vein problems.
Prior to the procedure, you will have a consultation with the vein specialist who will see if you are suitable for this procedure. If you are pregnant, you will not be suitable for this procedure.
Veins that are suitable for future heart bypass will not be suitable for this procedure, unless they have been certified not being able to use for heart bypass surgery.
How is this procedure done?
The typical sclerotherapy is done via through the injection of a chemical or salt solution directly into the vein with a fine needle. Over time, this will cause the body to absorb the treated veins. The entire procedure will take approximately 10 – 30 minutes, and there may be some discomfort when the solution is being injected into the vein. Usually this may take many treatments for results to take effect.
This procedure works by irritating the lining of the vein, causing it to close on itself and block the flow of blood. Over time, the vein will become scar tissue and disappear.
After the treatment, you will be asked to wear compression stockings for about three weeks to maintain compression on the treated veins. You will be advised to get up and walking immediately and regularly as walking will help to prevent the formation of blood clots.
Avoid strenuous exercise for at least two weeks, and also strong exposure to the sun as the injection chemicals interacting with UV rays will cause your skin to have dark spots.
Do note that prior to the surgery, you will have to avoid certain medications especially blood thinning medications and you will have to discuss with your doctor before the procedure.
Potential side effects
These are some of the side effects of sclerotherapy, some of which may require treatment from the doctor.
Blood may clot in the treated vein that will require further treatment to remove the clot. There is a small risk that this will cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT) where the clot will move into a bigger vein in the leg and clot the vein. From deep vein thrombosis will carry an additional risk of pulmonary embolism, where the clot travels from the leg to the lung and clot a vital artery.
Air bubbles in the veins
The treatment may cause tiny air bubbles to form in the blood stream, where they can cause headache, coughing and nausea. They usually resolve itself, but if you experience problems with limb movement, do contact your doctor immediately.
There may be instances where the chemical or salt solution is injected wrongly outside the vein instead of inside, causing tissue necrosis and scarring. If severe, necrosis can take months to heal.
Swelling and discomfort may form as a result of this treatment, and medication will allow the swelling to go down.
You may develop an allergy to the solution used in the treatment, but this is usually not common.
How can I find a Doctor for Sclerotherapy in Singapore?