Sclerotherapy can be used to treat both spider veins and varicose veins.

Sclerotherapy is a treatment that intentionally damages the lining of veins by injecting a chemical, called a sclerosant, into the vein and inducing a chemical phlebitis or inflammation.  By doing this and then applying pressure the vein walls stick together. The vein can then no longer fill with blood and so it is obliterated.  The compression applied after the injection is an essential part of the therapy.

Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGS) is a further development in which the foam injection is guided by ultrasound, and is used to treat smaller varicose veins. The ultrasound probe is able to track the needle entering the vein and ensure the injection takes place in the appropriate place. The dispersion of the foam can then be tracked using ultrasound. This is often used in combination with endovenous thermal ablation to give the best results.

Microinjection sclerotherapy is used for very fine spider veins and uses a very fine needle.

What to expect

The veins that may benefit from injections are identified.

For smaller varicose veins, these are identified using high-resolution ultrasound, and chemical foam is injected. The amount of treatment that can be administered during a session will depend on the number and type of veins being treated and the amount and concentration of chemical being used.

For spider veins, a small amount of liquid sclerosant is injected into the visible veins usually at multiple sites.  Many microinjections can be performed at a single sitting. Immediately after the injections the areas injected tend to become red and have a slightly inflamed appearance.

After the treatment

Well fitting compression stockings are an important part of the post-injection regime and you will be measured up for these before the treatment session so they are available to put on immediately after the treatment. It is important to walk regularly after your treatment. Several sessions of sclerotherapy may be needed to achieve optimal results.

Following sclerotherapy for smaller varicose veins, they become very hard and lumpy but this will gradually resolve and the veins will disappear.

Over the first few weeks following the injection, any slight discomfort, hardness or tenderness at the injection site should gradually subside. Brown staining of the skin around the site of the injection and along the line of the treated vein is quite a common event.

Most patients experience complete or near complete resolution but this can take up to 12 months after the injections.