Sclerotherapy is a procedure to remove spider veins. It involves the injection of a special chemical into the tiny violet veins and the slightly larger blue veins on the legs and thighs. This chemical reacts with the veins to ‘glue’ the insides together and clot the blood in them. The vein then closes down, and the body clears the broken-down vein over the next few weeks.
The most common reason for seeking to remove spider veins is to improve the appearance of the area where they are. However, these veins can also cause symptoms such as pain, bruising or itching, night cramps and tiredness of the legs. Sclerotherapy may help to improve all the above.
The chemical is injected along the vein at different points with the person lying down. Very fine needles are used, and the chemical itself has an anesthetic effect so the procedure is practically painless. Only a slight pinching sensation may be felt for a few seconds after injection. The procedure lasts for 45 to 60 minutes. The person is awake throughout and can walk away straight after.
During a consultation, spider veins which can be treated are identified and if any other alternative treatments can be used. It is also recommended that iron supplements, aspirin and anti-inflammatory medications (like Voltaren, Nurofen etc), and vitamins A, C and E are stopped for 2 weeks before the treatment to minimize the possibility of bleeding and bruising.