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Sclerotherapy in Melbourne
Treatment by sclerotherapy has been in use for decades and is one of the most common procedures for varicose and spider veins.
Sclerotherapy, also called microsclerotherapy when used to treat small spider veins, is considered the gold standard method for treating superficial leg veins such as spider and reticular veins.
MY Natural Look Clinic in Melbourne offers microsclerotherapy to treat small to very small surface veins.
What are Varicose, Reticular and Spider Veins?
Varicose, reticular and spider veins are three related types of problems that may occur in the veins when they become distended due to a back flow of pooled blood.
Distended veins no longer function properly (become incompetent) due to weakness in the walls and associated problems with the valves that normally help keep the blood moving in one direction.
Varicose veins are large surface veins that bulge above the skin surfaceReticular veins are smaller blue veins that do not protrude,Spider veins also called telangiectasis or thread veins are tiny short unconnected or spidery branching vessels that lie close to the skin surface.
They may be red, purple or blue in colour.Incompetent veins can cause symptoms such as leg pain, aching, heaviness, fatigue, throbbing, cramping and burning. In severe cases, varicose veins can result in complications such as ulcers, bleeding, inflammation, skin rash and blood clots.
Early treatment will prevent the condition from getting worse or reduce the risk of these complications.Before treatment, a full diagnosis of your veins will be done and your treatment procedure planned accordingly.
What is Scerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure that involves the injection of a solution called a sclerosant into the vein using a very fine needle.
The sclerosant has an effect on the walls of the vein that causes it to shut down. Over a period of 4 to 6 weeks, the body will gradually remove a vein that has been successfully treated.
There are three types of sclerotherapy procedures:
Spider veins are treated by microsclerotherapy, during which these visible surface veins are injected directly.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS)
Deeper veins which are not directly visible to the eye are treated with UGS, where ultrasound is used to precisely locate and treat the incompetent veins.
Catheter Guided Sclerotherapy (CGS)
CGS involves inserting a long catheter into the vein to deliver the sclerosant at a precise location and treat the area with minimal injections.
What does Microsclerotherapy Treatment Involve?
A microsclerotherapy procedure takes between 15 to 45 minutes depending on the number of veins being treated and the number of injections required for the treatment.
The sclerosant is generally reliable and relatively good results are achieved in around 50-70%% of cases. Often, multiple treatment sessions may be required for complete removal.
However, sometimes the incompetent veins can be very resistant to treatment and may not be cleared by sclerotherapy.
Several factors can influence the success of your treatment, such as the severity of your vein problems, your age, any other medical conditions you may have, how quickly you heal, and also how closely you follow your doctor’s directions before and after treatment.
After the injections, compression is used to try and keep the vein empty of blood.
A small amount of clot may develop in the vein but will be slowly absorbed by the body.You will be asked to rest for several minutes after the injections with your leg elevated before leaving the clinic.
If possible, arrange for someone to drive you home.Maximum benefit may not be seen for 3 months and perfection cannot be guaranteed.
Safety of Sclerotherapy / Microsclerotherapy
As with all medical treatments, there can be side effects from sclerotherapy procedures.
The most common side effects are usually mild and resolve quickly by themselves, whilst more severe side effects are much rarer.
Common Side Effects
As sclerotherapy treatment involves a series of injections, mild pain or discomfort is considered part of the normal treatment effect and shows that the injection is working.
You may also experience some aching in the leg for several days after treatment.
The degree of discomfort is partly related to the initial size of the veins and can be relieved by walking or by taking Paracetamol or Ibuprofen.Inflammation or phlebitis may occur around the areas of injection at any time after treatment and is caused by the reaction to the sclerosant.
Red, inflamed or swollen areas can be treated with compression, regular walking, massage and medication.
Bruising around the areas of injection can be common and usually resolves within a few weeks.Tender lumps may be common in the treated vein. They may persist for several weeks and are another sign that treatment has been successful.
Your doctor may suggest that they be allowed to resolve by themselves (they usually disappear within 4 to 6 weeks) or may prick the veins to squeeze out trapped blood.
Brown pigmentation can occur in the area as a result of iron pigments released from treated veins. In most cases, this clears naturally over time.
However, a small number of patients (<5%) may continue to have pigmentation after 12 months.Matting (a small network of fine capillaries) may develop in some patients after treatment. This may resolve by itself within a few months or may require further treatment.
Swelling of the lower limb, ankle or foot can be common after treatment and can be alleviated with the use of compression, elevation of the leg and walking.
Other potential side effects which are rare may include allergic reaction, deep vein thrombosis, dizziness, migraine, nerve damage, shortness of breath, stroke, ulceration and visual disturbances.
You can expect the veins look worse for a period of time before they start to look better. Improvement is usually seen in a couple of weeks but 6 to 12 weeks may be needed to show the maximum effect.
Continue to keep the leg elevated as much as possible for the first 24 hours.Go for a 20-30 minute walk immediately after treatment and then daily for 1 week.
Maintain normal daily activities, but avoid long periods of standing still.
Avoid strenuous physical activities, such as running, for a week after treatment since this increases the risk of blood flow returning into the treated veins.
If air travel is unavoidable, consult your doctor for advice.
An anticoagulant should be administered prior to the flight.Compression stockings are an essential part of treatment, as they:
Depending on the treatment performed, the length of time you will need to wear the stockings will vary and you will be advised at the time of treatment.
If only surface spider veins are treated, then flight stockings may be worn for 3 days continuously and during the day only from days 4-7. If larger veins are treated at the same time, then tighter stockings may have to be worn. If larger veins are treated at the same sitting, stockings would typically be worn continuously for 3-7 days. Then they would be worn through the day, removing them at night and replacing them in the morning after the shower for the next 7 days (depending on the severity of disease).
Report and discuss any cause for concerns with your doctor.
Copyright (c). Dr Manal Youssef 2019. All Rights Reserved