A Patient's Guide to Sclerotherapy

Varicose veins and spider veins often develop in the legs. They are visible blood vessels that appear twisted or gnarled. Varicose veins are larger, and they are swollen or raised areas. Spider veins are smaller, but still quite visible. These are both common skin issues, particularly in women. Dermatologists recommend sclerotherapy for patients who are displeased with the way these visible and enlarged blood vessels detract from their appearance.

Candidates

Sclerotherapy is generally well-tolerated and considered safe. However, not everyone is a good candidate for it. Women who are pregnant should wait until after they’ve delivered to have this treatment. Sclerotherapy isn’t recommended for women who are currently breastfeeding, either. The dermatologist will also need to know whether the patient has a history of blood clots.

Preparation

Patients will have a consultation with the dermatologist to make sure it’s safe for them to have this treatment. Patients who take certain medications or supplements may need to discontinue them temporarily. The doctor might also request that patients avoid shaving their legs and applying lotion for 24 hours before their appointments.

Procedure

Sclerotherapy typically takes less than one hour to complete. There’s no anesthesia required. Patients can expect to lie on their backs and elevate the legs slightly. The doctor cleanses the skin before using a fine needle to inject a solution into the blood vessel. Different solutions can be used, but dermatologists often use hypertonic saline.

Results

The hypertonic saline solution works by causing the lining of the blood vessel to become irritated. The irritated vein swells and closes, preventing blood from passing through. Eventually, the body will naturally break down the unused vein. There are no harmful long-term effects caused by closing off and breaking down a vein. After the sclerotherapy treatment is performed, patients are encouraged to stand up and walk around to prevent blood clots. Light activities can usually be resumed the same day, although patients may be advised to avoid strenuous activities for a couple of weeks.

Sclerotherapy is one of our specialties here at Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology. We provide a full suite of effective anti-aging treatments for our patients in Salt Lake City. Call us at (801) 266-8841 and let us know how our dermatology team can help you restore your self-confidence.

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