Injections for Varicose Veins (Sclerotherapy)

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Injections for the treatment of varicose veins are part of a treatment known as sclerotherapy. A solution is injected into the vein to damage its walls and cause clotting. The body then reacts against the clot destroying the vein and causing it to disappear.

Solutions Used

The solution that is normally used for this treatment is sodium tetradecyl sulphate. Different concentrations are used to treat different sized varicose veins in different areas. The solution is injected into the vein, which is then compressed using a bandage, which causes the vein to close off. Sodium tetradecyl sulphate is available in solutions from 0.2% concentration to 3% concentration. Sodium tetradecyl sulphate should be prescribed by a medical professional who will ensure that you receive the correct dose and do not suffer from any reactions.

In some cases sodium tetradecyl sulphate is not suitable, this includes:

  • If you are allergic to the solution
  • If you are obese
  • If you are taking contraceptive medication
  • If you cannot use your legs
  • If you have an uncontrolled medical condition
  • If you have an infection
  • If you have circulatory problems
  • If you have tumours in the stomach or pelvis
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If the treatment is for a child

If you meet any of the above criteria, they do not necessarily automatically exclude you from treatment with sodium tetradecyl sulphate. 

Hypertonic saline is also used to treat varicose veins if sodium tetradecyl sulphate is not appropriate. There are fewer risks of pulmonary complications but it is considered to be a more painful treatment. There is also a greater risk of discolouration and sclerosis.

Iodine can be used in combination with fibrovein to treat large varicose veins. This is too strong for the treatment of small veins and can cause discolouration and skin necrosis.

Recovery from Sclerotherapy

After sclerotherapy you should walk for at least fifteen minutes three times a day. You may also be required to wear compression socks or bandages for a minimum of three days. Once these are removed, you will find that the veins appear worse for a few weeks. The results are not immediate and can improve over a period of twelve to twenty- four months.

You should avoid risk factors of varicose veins such as:

  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Lack of activity
  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time

Doing this will reduce your risk of recurring varicose veins as will a healthy lifestyle and wearing light compression socks or stockings.

In many cases, you will require regular repeat treatments to get rid of varicose veins; these are generally repeated after no less than one month. 80 % of people who have scelrotherapy are happy with the results and 60 % are very happy. Sclerotherapy will not prevent the formation of new varicose veins.

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