As the weather warms up and we slip into our summer wardrobes, it’s normal to feel self-conscious about the physical appearance of spider or varicose veins. These veins can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, burning, discolouration and swelling and can lead to insecurities about physical appearance.
Varicose and spider veins most often occur on feet, ankles, calves, thighs, face and the anus, and are more prevalent in women than men.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment that targets spider and varicose veins and is a less invasive option than surgery.
How does sclerotherapy work?
Sclerotherapy involves injecting chemicals directly into damaged veins. When the solution is injected, it irritates the blood vessel lining. As a result, it collapses and sticks together, and the blood is redirected to functioning veins. The collapsed vessel will eventually turn into scar tissue that your body absorbs.
Your treatment will take about 30-45 minutes. The exact length of time required will depend upon how severe your condition is.
What is injected during sclerotherapy?
The chemicals injected during sclerotherapy are known as sclerosing agents. Common sclerosing agents include polidocanol, sodium tetradecyl sulfate and hypertonic saline solutions.
Your doctor will clean the skin around the targeted vein and inject the sclerosing agent with a fine needle.
How long does sclerotherapy last?
Most patients notice significant, permanent improvement due to sclerotherapy. Troublesome veins are fully cleared, or there is a significant visible improvement. This high success rate means many patients avoid the need for surgery.
As you might expect, smaller veins are most responsive to sclerotherapy, with improvement visible in just a few weeks. You may need to wait up to four months for larger varicose veins to improve visually.
How many sessions of sclerotherapy are needed?
Between 1 and 6 sclerotherapy treatments are typically required, with the average number being 3 or 4. However, you may only require 1 treatment to discover that your damaged vein has cleared or noticeably improved.
Every individual is different, so it is hard to say exactly how many treatments are required and what the exact outcome will be. Around 10% of patients unfortunately don’t achieve their desired result after 6 treatments.
Is the sclerotherapy procedure painful?
There is some discomfort associated with sclerotherapy. You could notice burning, stinging or minor cramping during the procedure. The sclerosing agent may leak into surrounding tissue which can be painful.
After the procedure, you may experience side effects including swelling, stinging, bruising, discomfort and skin discoloration. These side effects shouldn’t last more than a few days. We will ask you to wear compression stockings for a few days after your sclerotherapy treatment.
Brown spots or lines may appear near the treatment site. They should fade within 3-6 months, but some occurrences can last longer or become permanent.
What are the dangers of sclerotherapy?
If done properly, sclerotherapy is a safe and effective treatment. It is important to make sure your sclerotherapy treatment is carried out by a trained, qualified healthcare professional, and that all risk factors (such as existing medical conditions and current medications) are discussed upfront. It is not suitable if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, bedridden or have given birth within the past three months.
Like any medical procedure, there are more serious side effects that could occur with sclerotherapy. These include skin ulceration near the injection site, blood clots, allergic reaction, infection and discomfort due to inflammation.
At Azure Medical, we recommend checking in after your treatment to keep on top of any potential side effects.
How much does sclerotherapy cost?
A sclerotherapy treatment at Azure Medical starts at $550. Your treatment will be carried out by a trained GP in our welcoming clinic in Cottesloe.
Your treatment may be covered by Medicare or insurance if it isn’t solely for cosmetic purposes. This is something we can discuss with you at your initial consultation.
In summary, sclerotherapy is a simple, affordable treatment with minimal downtime. Most of our patients experience positive results, with their varicose or spider veins either fully removed or noticeably reduced.
To find out if sclerotherapy is right for you, call Azure Medical today.