Sclerotherapy treatment for varicose veins
What does Sclerotherapy involve?
Liquid or foam chemicals are injected into the veins, destroying the lining and causing the walls to stick together. Blood stops flowing through these veins which are then absorbed by the body’s own natural defence mechanism, and stronger veins take over.
Liquid sclerotherapy is used on smaller veins and foam sclerotherapy on larger ones. Local anaesthetic may be given but the treatment is not usually painful, aside from the prick of the needle and a slight burning or stinging sensation that passes after a few minutes.
The procedure is quick, taking around 30 minutes, depending on the number of veins to treat.
The varicose veins will usually fade after three to six weeks but repeated treatment might be necessary. Although effective in the short-term, the long-term benefits of sclerotherapy aren’t yet known.
How long is the recovery period?
Afterwards, your leg(s) will be bandaged tightly or you might be asked to wear compression stockings. The skin around the treated area may be sore, bruised and/or discoloured for a few weeks.
You will normally be able to walk and return to work straightaway. However, you shouldn’t drive for 30 minutes after the treatment in case you develop vision problems.
You should avoid intense activity for a few days and direct exposure to sunlight for up to six weeks (the time it takes the varicose veins to fade).
Who can have this done?
Sclerotherapy shouldn’t be performed if you have had deep vein thrombosis in the past. It’s also not suitable for those with a known allergy to the chemicals injected or those with reduced mobility.
How much does it cost?
The procedure is free on the NHS and prices start around £150 per treatment if you go private.