Ask the Experts - Sclerotherapy

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Do you have veins in your legs that make you want to keep them covered? Sclerotherapy is a way to reduce, or even eliminate, unsightly thread and spider veins, giving you the confidence to go bare-legged. Our experts are on hand to explain more...

What exactly is sclerotherapy?

Ultimately, it's an effective treatment for spider veins, which are injected with a sterile solution using a very, very fine microneedle.

How does that work?

The veins in question are harmless but unsightly, and they're not doing anything of any use. The solution that is injected irritates these little vessels, causing them to swell shut. This blocks the flow of blood, resulting in the vein collapsing and disappearing over time.

Does sclerotherapy hurt?

The needle used for the treatment is very fine, which reduces discomfort considerably. There may still be a little sting, and sometimes people experience a mild burning or stinging sensation from the solution, but generally patients report that the procedure is far less painful than they expected.

How quickly will I see results?

You can expect to see an improvement of between 70 and 90% in your treated vessels, however the process is gradual and you won't see the result immediately. It can take up to three months for the full fading to occur.

How long do the results last?

Sclerotherapy is a permanent solution to spider and thread veins - the treated veins will not come back. However it is possible for new spider veins to develop, and unfortunately there's no way for sclerotherapy to prevent this from happening. Sclerotherapy will be just as effective on any new veins that develop, though.

How many treatments will I need?

It depends on a few things - like how bad your veins are, how much coverage you have, and how your body responds, but typically best results need around 3 treatments, scheduled 2-3 weeks apart.

Are there any reasons someone shouldn't have sclerotherapy?

As with many procedures, especially of a more medical nature, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not undergo this treatment. If you have a history of deep vein thrombosis, or you have uncontrolled diabetes, skin infections or blood disorders, you may not be the best candidate. The best thing to do is get in touch and talk to an expert, who can advise you.

How long does a sclerotherapy treatment take?

In order to maintain your comfort, and not cause stress or shock, a treatment lasts 20-30 minutes. This may mean that not all of your veins can be treated at once, which is why most people need more than one treatment.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare?

Because sclerotherapy treatments involve needles, there is always a small possibility of some bruising after your treatment. To reduce the risk, you should avoid anti-inflammatory painkillers (asprin, ibuprofen, Nurofen, etc), St John's Wort, and Vitamin E supplements. Avoid these for at least a week before your treatment.

You should also avoid alcohol for at least 24 hours. You should always have a consultation before a treatment, and you should ensure that you disclose any and all medical conditions, medications and supplements.

Is sclerotherapy the only way to treat thread veins?

Some thread veins are actually too tiny to inject, and can't be treated by sclerotherapy at all. Luckily, it isn't the only option. IPL Skin Rejuvenation uses intense light energy to selective treat damaged vessels. If you don't want to use a needle-based treatment, IPL may be a better option for you. Each treatment has its merits, so if you're not sure which is best, talk to us and we'll happily discuss your needs and options.

If you have thread veins on your face, IPL is a better choice as the sclerotherapy injections can be more uncomfortable in this areas.