- Does it hurt?
Sclerotherapy is not a particularly painful treatment – the needles used are tiny and the injections are very superficial.
Commonly used sclerosants (the drug used) are not painful on injection. You may experience some prickling and itching after treatment for a few hours, but these symptoms can be relieved with anti-Histamines which can be purchased over the counter in supermarkets and pharmacies.
- What are the risks associated with the treatment?
Sclerotherapy results in few serious complications. Some side effects that may occur at the site of the injection include:
- Raised red areas
- Small skin sores
- Darkened skin in the form of lines or spots
- Multiple tiny red blood vessels
These side effects usually go away within a few days to several weeks. Some side effects can take months or even years to disappear completely. Other complications are less common but may require treatment. These include:
- This is usually mild but may cause swelling, warmth and discomfort around the injection site. Your practitioner may suggest an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) to reduce the inflammation.
- Blood clot.A lump of clotted blood may form in a treated vein that may require drainage. Rarely, a blood clot may travel to a deeper vein in your leg (deep vein thrombosis).
Deep vein thrombosis carries a risk of pulmonary embolism (a very rare complication of sclerotherapy), an emergency situation where the clot travels from your leg to your lungs and blocks a vital artery. Seek immediate medical care if you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain or dizziness, or you cough up blood.
- Air bubbles.Tiny air bubbles may rise in your bloodstream. These don’t always cause symptoms, but if they do, symptoms include visual disturbances, headaches, fainting and nausea. These symptoms generally go away, but call your doctor if you experience problems with limb movement or sensation after the procedure.
- Allergic reaction.It’s possible that you may have an allergic reaction to the solution used for treatment, but this is uncommon.
- How do I prepare for my treatment?
Before the procedure, your doctor performs a physical exam and gathers your medical history.