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Sclerotherapy for Veins

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy for Veins

Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical office procedure that can treat most diseased surface veins. Medication is injected into the vein using an extremely tiny needle. The medication injected “irritates” the vein walls so that they will stick together when compressed. Blood is rerouted through other veins. The “sclerosed” veins are gradually reabsorbed by the body.

What will happen in the first consultation?

You will be asked questions regarding your past health, medication history and symptoms. Dr. Marianna Switchuk will examine your legs You will have an opportunity to discuss the treatment and ask questions.

What causes vein problems?

Veins carry used blood to the heart through one-way valve systems. When there is a weakness in the vein wall or a faulty valve, the valve stretches and no longer closes properly. The veins become filled with blood that can’t empty properly (varicose), causing pain, swelling, discolorations, sores that won’t heal, blood clots and other problems can occur.

Spider veins develop when the body is trying to re-route blood and creates small tributaries for this to happen.

Spider veins and varicose veins are largely hereditary and not always due to lifestyle.

What types of vein problems does Monarch Laser & Wellness Centre treat?
Spider veins and varicose veins are the most common.

How many treatments are required?

Depending on the type and severity of the varicose veins, the average number of treatments is anywhere between 2 and 5, however as many as 10 treatments may be required. The larger vessels only require a few (3 or 4) well placed injections with a stronger solution. They must be treated first. The smaller veins may require many points of injection with a weaker solution. The injections will be stopped at any time the patient so requests.

Does the treatment hurt?

Most patients experience moderate discomfort similar to an allergy or tetanus shot with each injection. Discomfort after treatment is rare. Most patients can return to work after treatments.

What are the most common side effects?

All medical treatments entail a certain degree of risk. The majority of people who have sclerotherapy performed see good improvement. Approximately 10% of those who undergo sclerotherapy have poor to fair results. In very rare cases, the patient’s condition will become worse after treatment.

For spider veins:
In the first few days itching, bruising, aching, redness and swelling are common.
Most of these symptoms resolve spontaneously. You may take Tylenol (acetaminophen), but do not take ASA or related compounds (aspirin or ibuprofen) since they may increase bleeding. It may help to elevate the legs and rotate the ankles.

Sometimes (particularly those with fair skin) notice small red circles or brown lines after treatments. These are due to the pigment of the blood or inflammation and usually resolve within 1 month. Most (90%) of the discoloration resolves within 1 year

A small blood clot may develop at the injection site and causes a lump. This will disappear in 2-8 weeks. A small subcutaneous ulcer of the skin overlying the injected vessel may occasionally occur. If this should happen it will leave a small scar.

“Matting” refers to the development of new tiny blood vessels in the treated vessel area.

Allergic reactions can very rarely occur, which includes hives (itchy skin), shortness of breath, and swelling around the airway. If this occurs at home, seek medical attention immediately.

For varicose veins:
In addition to the side effects listed above there are several complications unique to varicose vein injections.

Phlebitis may develop at the site of injection as a firm nodule. This resolves with elevation, application of a cool pack, rotation of the ankles, tensor bandage and aspirin 48 hours after treatment.

Blood clots are a very rare complication, seen in approximately 1 out of every 30,000 patients treated for varicose veins larger than 3 to 4mm in diameter.
Blood clots or deep venous thrombosis (DVT) will be recognized by pain and swelling of the entire foot. The possible danger of blood clots includes dislodging into the lungs (sudden chest pain/shortness of breath/death) or causing post phlebitis syndrome, in which the blood clot is not cleared from the legs, resulting in a permanent swelling of the legs.

If sclerotherapy solution is injected into an artery instead of a vein, it cause result in interruption of the blood supply to the area that the artery supplies.

What should I do before a treatment?

Do not take aspirin, ibuprofen or other arthritis medicine for 5 days before and 2 days after your treatment because these medications can increase bruising.

Shower and wash your legs thoroughly with an antibacterial soap. Do not shave your legs the day of your appointment. Do not apply any cream or lotion to your legs, including tanning cream. Bring loose shorts to wear during the treatment.

Eat a light snack 1-11/2 hours before your appointment. If you get lightheaded during medical procedures, consider bringing someone to drive you home.

What should I do after a treatment?

For spider veins:
Your legs will be covered in cotton balls attached with tape, so you are advised to wear dark colored loose fitting clothing to the session. If you own compression stockings, bring those to the treatment and wear post treatment. Remove the cotton balls after one hour. Resume normal activities. Avoid hot baths and heavy exercise for 48 hours after the procedure.

For varicose veins:
If the veins are large, you may be asked to wear your compression stocking for 48 hours. Keep active for a half hour after the session to maximize results. Bring comfortable walking shoes. If traveling 30 minutes to the office, have someone drive you so that you can move your feet and legs as the passenger. Avoid tanning until the end treatment and all the bruises have disappeared, otherwise your tan color may be irregular. Do not use self-tanning lotions for a least one month (it causes unsightly streaking). Maintain normal activities but avoid strenuous physical activities such as high impact aerobics or weight lifting for the first 48 hours. Avoid prolonged standing and hot baths for 1 week. Cool your legs with cold water after each shower. Most people can return to work immediately after a treatment.

How much do treatments cost?

Approximately $200 per session of ½ hour duration for spider veins.
$15 per injection for varicose vein. Minimum of 4 at one time

What can I do to prevent varicose veins from coming back after a treatment?
Varicose veins are a chronic illness and are subject to recurrence, but there are some steps that you can take to reduce this.

1. Compression stockings are highly recommended and come in a variety of colors and styles. Use them when your legs ache, for long trips or for prolonged walking or standing.
2. Wear comfortable shoes with a 1-2 inch heel (running shoes are best)
3. Avoid wearing girdles and ordinary knee high stockings
4. Exercise regularly. Avoid standing for long periods and if you do, flex your muscles or sit/lie down with your legs elevated.

How to get more information?

Call Monarch Laser & Wellness Centre at 905 388 2400 or email us at info@monarchwellness.ca to book your no-obligation consultation.

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