Like most medical procedures, there are some side effects of sclerotherapy as well; however, they are quite mild and manageable. This article lists the most common ones.
Sclerotherapy is used to treat varicose veins or ‘spider veins’, and is a simple procedure which does not require hospitalization. It has been around since 1930, and there are thousands of people who have undergone this procedure. Only about 15 to 20 percent of those who undergo this treatment experience any side effects. Women seem to suffer more from varicose veins than men, and the percentage of women taking this treatment is naturally higher. A woman should not undergo this procedure if she is pregnant.
During this therapy, a solution is injected into the affected veins with a small needle. Generally, a sodium chloride sterile solution and heparin is mixed with a local anesthetic, and administered directly into the affected vein. This makes the treated vein shrink and dissolve. The time taken by this procedure depends upon the number of veins treated, and this usually depends on the condition of the veins and patient.
Adverse responses can range from mild discomfort to an allergic reaction. Nowadays, a new procedure known as foam sclerotherapy is being put to use. In this procedure, the liquid sclerosing agent is mixed with air to create foam, and this foam is then injected into the veins. This is one of the easiest ways for varicose vein pain relief.
Most common adverse responses that patients encounter after these procedures include:
One of the most common and widely encountered side effect is pain experienced from the injection needle, during and after the procedure. As the sclerosing agent is directly injected into the veins, it can sometimes be painful.
The needle prick may cause bruising around the injected site, and this may last for a few days. The injected area may also have discoloration, which takes a couple of days to a few weeks to fade away. Bruising is another most widely experienced side effect.
There is a possibility, although rare, of the formation of small ulcers around the injected site. These ulcers are sometimes caused by the sclerosing agent causing an irritation on the skin. These ulcers heal completely, and most times are not visible, but sometimes do scar the skin.
Sclerotherapy is not a complete treatment. It can only cure the injected veins. Recurrence is generally when varicose veins are discovered after the treatment. This does not mean that these are new, but just that they were not visible before. Patients who have undergone treatment may have to treat the other veins that appear later.
A slight chance of blood clot formation is always there when it comes to injections. These blood clots can be dangerous if they find their way into the heart or brain. However, there is a very rare chance of this happening, as physicians provide compression hose and immediate physical therapy that prevents the blood from clotting.
A very low chance of allergic reaction exists in sclerotherapy, but these are temporary reactions. Physicians check the solution on a small part of the skin for any allergic reactions before administering the injection. Irritation and tingling sensations are some of the most common temporary allergic reactions experienced by patients.
Patients with spider veins on the legs may experience swelling in their leg after the procedure. Considering all the factors, the side effects are negligible, and can be controlled with the assistance of a physician. Some precautions that patients need to take before going in for this therapy are, not to use skin lotions, and to inform the physician upfront about any other medication that they might be using.