Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure and can often be done on an outpatient basis. This means that the patient can leave the doctor's office the same day as the procedure. For many patients, the procedure feels like no work at all! Sclerotherapy works by injecting a hard chemical into the small varicose veins in the legs or armpits. This causes the veins to shrink, which pulls the blood through them.
One of the most common side effects of sclerotherapy is a reddening of the skin in the treated area. You may experience this reddening even if the treatment was given to your hands or feet, or even if you had blisters as part of the procedure. This redness may also be present in the treated area if the sclerotherapy was given to your legs. This is not a significant side effect, but it is a bothersome and should be checked by your doctor as soon as possible.
Minor side effects of Sclerotherapy
While there are no major side effects of sclerotherapy, some patients do experience slight discomfort from the injection of the chemical. The discomfort usually does not last for long and goes away fairly quickly. Some patients have experienced mild stomach cramps, but these should go away within a few hours and should not cause you any discomfort. The redness that sometimes occur after the procedure may last for a few days, and you should consult your doctor immediately if you experience severe redness for longer than a few days.
If you are a candidate for sclerotherapy, you will be advised to limit your activities during the first few days after your procedure. This is so your legs will be fully healed and that there will be no chance that the chemicals will leak out into your body. You will also probably need to take a day or two off of work in order to allow your body to recover from the operation.
It is important to tell your doctor about all recent illnesses and medications you are taking, particularly if your doctor orders blood tests. In order for the iron supplements to do their job properly, they must be distributed to your entire body, not just one area. In addition, your doctor will probably order an MRI to see where your veins are located in your body. This is a sure sign of any underlying medical conditions, such as varicose veins or spider veins.
In addition to the chemical irritants, your doctor may choose to use a "prickle gun" in addition to the sclerosing agents. This type of needle works by injecting a small amount of sodium bicarbonate, also known as sodium borax, into the veins. The purpose is to inject a solution that will cause the veins to close up and collapse over time. Although this process can take several months, the effects will dramatically improve over time.
Sclerotherapy may also involve ultrasound scanning injections. An ultrasound scan will project a harmless image of the inside of the rectum and blood vessels. This allows your doctor to pinpoint the exact location of the veins. In some cases, the patient may experience mild nausea at the injection site or may experience severe cramping. However, patients typically feel relief after only one or two sclerotherapy treatments. The pain and swelling will subside as time goes on.
Although the procedure is safe and noninvasive, you should discuss your concerns with your physician. You may experience discomfort or complications, such as excessive bleeding, bruising, leg cramps or infection. In most cases, these side effects will subside in approximately two to four weeks. If you experience any severe side effects, call your doctor immediately and schedule an appointment.