Sclerotherapy

  • Medical Author:
    Gary W. Cole, MD, FAAD

    Dr. Cole is board certified in dermatology. He obtained his BA degree in bacteriology, his MA degree in microbiology, and his MD at the University of California, Los Angeles. He trained in dermatology at the University of Oregon, where he completed his residency.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Is sclerotherapy safe?

All medical procedures have risks that should be considered carefully prior to embarking on a particular treatment. Since sclerotherapy is frequently used to treat cosmetic problems, untoward and dangerous side effects are fully explained to the patient.

Does sclerotherapy hurt?

Because this procedure requires injections through the skin, it is not a painless procedure. Certain chemicals that are injected (sclerosants) are more likely to cause pain than others. If the sclerosant is deposited outside the vein inadvertently, this is often more painful.

Is sclerotherapy an effective treatment for varicose veins and spider veins?

Sclerotherapy is an effective technique to obliterate or collapse veins. Other techniques include surgical removal of the offending vein, endovenous laser destruction (fiberoptic-transmitted laser light) and, for very small vessels, percutanous laser light or intense pulsed-light exposure are also effective.

Who is a good candidate for sclerotherapy?

Those with venous insufficiency who have disease that is poorly controlled with compression stockings and who are not obese are ideal candidates for sclerotherapy. To determine if sclerotherapy obliteration is likely to be of benefit, the site of the defective vein is identified as well as the venous drainage pattern. Healthy people who complain of unsightly superficial veins of small caliber (4 mm or less) are also candidates for sclerotherapy.

How do people prepare for the sclerotherapy procedure?

Patients are screened using special ultrasound techniques to determine the site of venous disease prior to treatment. In situations where there is only a small area of spider veins, this is rarely done.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/13/2015
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