Class II compressions stockings MUST be worn following each sclerotherapy treatment for at least 1 week. This is essential to assist in closure of the veins by squashing the vein walls together, minimizing blood clot trapping and the development of pigmentation from old blood. Walking is essential after treatment, including day of procedure in conjunction with compression stockings, to reduce aching and the risk of developing a DVT.
Frequently asked Questions
Can I prevent varicose and spider veins developing?
There are a number of factors that can predispose a person to developing varicose and spider veins. In many cases, these are familial, passed on through the family. Women seem to suffer from this problem more often than men, mostly due to hormonal changes during puberty, pregnancy and menopause. In addition people with a history of blood clots are at risk as well as increased abdominal pressure such as constipation, tumours and wearing tight garments. Whilst there is no exact method of preventing varicose and spider veins, it may be beneficial to follow these recommendations; • Reduce long periods of immobility • Avoid constipation • Regular exercise • Maintain a healthy weight • Limit standing or sitting for long periods
Is the procedure painful?
The needles used for this procedure are extremely fine and the type of sclerosing agent used is reported as less painful than other agents (per ANZ Society of Phlebology). Patients comment that the feeling is of a brief sting or mild pinprick. All care and effort is taken to minimize discomfort.
Are there any risks?
As with any procedure, there are potential risks and complications. These will be discussed in more detail during your consultation. Some of the possible side effects and complications of sclerotherapy include: • Bruising – usually at the site of the injection. This will disappear in a few weeks. • Brown lines or spots – these may appear on the skin at the site of the injected veins. This can occur when red blood cells break down, they can leave iron deposits behind in the skin. In most cases, this pigmentation will disappear in time. In a small number of people these brown lines may persist for up to a year or longer. You will be advised to stop taking iron supplements before, during and up to 3 months after your treatment. In addition you will be advised to stop taking other medications such as Aspirin, Nurofen, Voltaren etc as these will increase your risk of bruising. • Lumps – may occur in larger injected veins. These are called ‘trapped blood’ and are not dangerous. They will either be removed a few weeks after the injection or will clear by themselves. • Swelling/aching – may occur in people who have had large veins treated. To prevent swelling, it is essential to wear compression stockings as directed. • Matting – a network of fine red blood vessels that can develop near the sites of previous injections, particularly of larger vessels. Most will resolve spontaneously however some will require additional treatment and a few persist. Matting is more common in people with extensive surface veins, patients who are overweight or those with a very fair complexion and a lack of or inadequate compression. More uncommon complications; • Ulcers (large sores) – these can form at the site of the injection. They can occur immediately after injection or a few days later. They are rare, but can be painful and usually leave pigmented scars after they heal. More common in people who are overweight and smoke. • Thrombophlebitis – clotting and inflammation which can occur along the wall of a treated vein. Old blood can become trapped and lead to tender lumps developing along the vein. This can also occur spontaneously in untreated veins. Rare complications; • Allergic reaction to the irritant solution – Can be serious and life threatening. Swelling of the lips and throat are treated as an emergency. Less serious reactions can be treated with antihisatmines. • DVT – Deep vein thrombosis (clot in a deep vein) which is serious however a rare ocurrance if instructions are followed regarding the use of compression stockings and your walking regimen. At risk patients who have had previous DVT’s or a familial history will be required to stop the oral contraceptive pil prior to treatment as this increases the risk of DVT. • Migraine – visual disturbances, more commonly in migraine sufferers. • Infection at the injection site are also rare as the sclerosant has antiseptic properties. • Accidental injection of irritant solution into an artery, causing tissue damage.
Will the veins come back?
The veins that have been treated adequately with Sclerotherapy will not recur. However, your underlying predisposition to develop these veins in the first instance remains. You may require repeat treatments of one or a number of veins to achieve the desired result. Most patients can expect a 50% – 70% improvement in the appearance of their legs, however, it is important to understand that because of bruising and initial irritation of the vein from the injection, the improvement may be gradual with some veins taking 3 months to clear. We recommend you exercise regularly, maintain a healthy weight and avoid constipation, which will collectively minimise the development of new varicose/spider veins. We would recommend a yearly review so that any new veins can be promptly treated.
What if I need heart surgery in the future?
These varicosed veins no longer function normally so would not be selected for use as a bypass graft.
Is there any preparation before my procedure?
You will have an initial medical consultation with our Doctor/Nurse team. An assessment will be made to identify your concerns and plan the most safe and effective treatment. Your treatment may not occur on the same day as your consultation. Prior to your treatment, photographs are taken of your veins for medical recording and future reference. You will be measured and supplied with compression stockings, which will be fitted immediately after your treatment. Please do not use any moisturising cream or self tanning lotion on your legs on the day of your procedure as tapes and bandages etc will not stick. You will have plenty of time at your consultation to ask questions and you may request additional information which can be provided at this time. It is important to us at Avalon Skin that you are given as much information as possible so that you can make educated decisions regarding treatment.