Sclerotherapy is a treatment that involves injecting a solution into unwanted varicose or spider veins. These veins may appear on the legs or may be hidden under the skin and fat. The unwanted blood vessels are red or bluish in colour and are a common problem, particularly for women. Some small varicose veins are raised above the skin’s surface and may cause aching.
Sclerotherapy is not just a cosmetic procedure. Varicose vein disease can cause many health problems such as blood clots, venous eczema, skin breakdown and ulceration and, rarely, skin cancers.
The cause of varicose and spider veins is not known. However, in many cases, they run in families. Women seem to develop this problem more often than men. Changes in oestrogen levels in the blood may have a role in the development of varicose veins. Such hormonal changes occur during puberty, pregnancy, breastfeeding and menopause.
The contraceptive or hormone replacement pills have not been shown to significantly increase the risk of developing varicose veins. Other factors that may contribute include: Standing or sitting for long periods, Being immobile for long periods, Lack of exercise, Obesity.
The solution used to treat unwanted veins is called a sclerosant. When injected into the vein, the sclerosant irritates the blood vessel and causes it to shrivel up and gradually fade. Leg veins clear slowly after sclerotherapy and may take up to two to six months to resolve, depending on vessel size. Each vein may require several injections, given some weeks apart. Multiple veins can be injected in one treatment session.
To improve the blood circulation in the deep veins, it is essential to walk after the treatment. A compression stocking is worn to reduce the risk of bruising and swelling, and other complications such as inflammation and clots. Regular exercise, weight control and the use of support stockings are recommended between treatments and after treatment.
Upfront cost starting at $250 – There is a Medicare rebate for this procedure.