What is sclerotherapy?
"Sclerotherapy" involves using a fine needle to inject a substance directly into the vein. This solution irritates the lining of the vein, causing the vein to swell and the blood to clot. The vein then turns into scar tissue that may eventually fade from view. Sclerotherapy is typically used for spider veins and varicose veins. Veins up to 15 millimeters in diameter have been treated successfully. This is generally offered to patients who have tried compression stockings and leg elevation without much success. Today, the substances most commonly used in the United States for sclerotherapy are hypertonic saline and sodium tetradecyl sulfate (Sotradecol), and polidocanol (Aethoxysklerol, Asclera) is now also approved in the U.S. for sclerotherapy.
With sclerotherapy, after the solution is injected, the vein's surrounding tissue is generally wrapped in compression bandages for several days, causing the vein walls to stick together. Patients whose legs have been treated are put on walking regimens, which forces the blood to flow into other veins and prevents the development of blood clots. This method and variations of it have been used since the 1920's. In most cases, more than one treatment session will be required.
Related SlideshowSpider And Varicose Veins
Pictures of sclerotherapy treatment
Below are pictures of varicose vein and spider vein treatment.