Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins: How Does It Work?

Varicose Veins Treatment before and after

Do you have varicose veins or spider veins? Are you searching for a solution that might reduce their appearance and help you feel better?

Sclerotherapy can be used to treat varicose veins and is generally the treatment of choice when dealing with small varicose veins. 

Let’s learn more about sclerotherapy for varicose veins!

What’s Sclerotherapy Treatment?

With sclerotherapy, a doctor injects a solution into the vein. This causes scar tissue to form, forcing blood to go into healthier veins. That collapsed vein is then reabsorbed into the local tissue and fades with time.

Treated veins tend to fade away in a few weeks, but it could take a month or longer to see results. Some patients require multiple treatments.

Typically, the procedure is done for varicose and spider veins to improve their appearance. However, it can also relieve night cramps, burning, swelling, and aching.

How Sclerotherapy Works

Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Your doctor will evaluate large and smaller varicose veins and check for blood vessel disease. They will also look at your medical history to determine what medications you’re on, what illnesses you have, and all the rest.

You rarely need anesthesia for the treatment, and it takes about an hour to complete. Patients lie on their backs with their legs slightly elevated. The doctor cleans the area and uses a fine needle to insert the solution into the vein. There could be multiple injection sites, depending on the size of the vein.

Typically, this solution irritates the vein’s lining, causing it to swell and block blood flow. Larger veins may force you to experience cramps or stinging.

varicose vein compression pad

After withdrawing the needle, the doctor will apply compression to the varicose veins. Often, a compression pad is taped to the injection site to keep it compressed.

Post-Procedure Care

You can move around after the procedure to prevent blood clots from forming. Generally, you must wear compression stockings for about two weeks to keep compression on those treated veins.

Depending on your doctor’s advice, you may return to normal activities on the same day. However, it is advisable to ask someone to drive you home after your procedure. Make sure to have plenty of compression stockings for the next two weeks.

Avoid sun exposure during this time to avoid hyperpigmentation in the treated areas. If you must go under the sun, wear protective clothing and broad-spectrum sunblock until you’re fully healed.

compression stockings for varicose veins

Who Are Suitable Candidates for Sclerotherapy Treatment?

Sclerotherapy could be ideal for those with varicose veins, though it’s not for everyone. You should speak with your vascular specialist to determine if you’re a suitable candidate.

Sclerotherapy may not be suitable for the following individuals:

  • Breastfeeding moms
  • Pregnant women (you must wait three months after delivery)
  • Individuals who have a superficial vein thrombosis or deep vein thrombosis
  • Patients under bed rest

Those on birth control may have the procedure unless prohibited by their primary care physician. If you’ve had blood clots in the past, it depends on what caused them and how serious they were.

Potential Risks of Sclerotherapy Treatment

It’s important to know what the potential risks of sclerotherapy of varicose veins could be:

Temporary Side Effects

Side effects at the site of the injection near the varicose vein include:

  • Raised red areas
  • Bruising
  • Multiple tiny blood vessels
  • Hyperpigmentations
  • Small skin sores

Generally, they go away in a few days but can take years to disappear.

Side Effects That Could Require More Treatment

Some complications are worse and could require treatment. They’re less common, but it’s important to know that your varicose vein could suffer from the following:


It’s often mild, but you may experience warmth, swelling, or discomfort around the injection site. Doctors often prescribe OTC pain relievers to help reduce inflammation in the spider vein.

Blood Clots

A blood clot could form in the treated vein, which requires drainage. Rarely, the blood clot travels to other veins in the leg. However, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a possibility, especially if you’ve got large varicose veins.

DVT could lead to a pulmonary embolism (a rare complication of the procedure). This is an emergency where the clot travels from the legs to the lungs, blocking a vital artery. Get medical care immediately if you cough up blood or experience difficulty breathing, dizziness, and chest pain.

Air Bubbles

Small air bubbles could rise in the bloodstream. They may not cause symptoms, but you could experience headaches, visual disturbances, nausea, and fainting. They generally go away on their own.

Allergic Reaction

You could have an allergic reaction to the liquid or foam solution used for treatment, but it’s uncommon.

FAQs About Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins:

How Long Will Sclerotherapy Treatment Last?

Sclerotherapy can be permanent or temporary. Generally, the goal is permanence because the treated veins fade away with time. However, new and larger varicose veins could develop with time, so you might need further treatment.

Is Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins Painful?

Generally, no. Sclerotherapy doesn’t hurt, though you could feel a pinch from the needle and some cramping or burning near the injection area.

Does Sclerotherapy Work on Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins Results

Yes. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a solution into the veins to make them swell and shut down. Though spider veins are often smaller, the treatment can be ideal. Likewise, it helps deep veins, though you might require multiple injections combined or more treatments.

Learn other tips on how to get rid of varicose veins effectively in this guide.

How Long Does It Take for Varicose Veins to Disappear After Sclerotherapy?

Spider veins often go away within a few days or a few weeks. However, larger veins might continue to appear for many months. It all depends on your body and how the injected vein reacts to the procedure.

Consult a Vein Doctor to Know Your Options

Are you tired of seeing those spider veins and varicose veins? You might be able to get rid of them naturally, but many people turn to sclerotherapy for assistance. VISP offers laser therapy and sclerotherapy to help your leg veins look more normal and hurt less.

If you’re located in Prescott, Arizona, this medical procedure could be the best choice for you. Contact us to schedule an appointment and see what we can do to help you!

Author Profile

Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott was formed in 2010 by a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. The team’s goal is to educate patients and medical communities, while also providing safe and compassionate health care, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.