Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a treatment for varicose veins and spider veins which involves injecting a special foam or fluid into the affected veins, causing them to collapse and, over time, to turn into scar tissue that fades from view.

Common questions

What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a treatment for varicose veins and spider veins which involves injecting a special foam or fluid into the affected veins, causing them to collapse and, over time, to turn into scar tissue that fades from view.

Sclerotherapy treats varicose veins by injecting a special foam or fluid solution directly into the affected veins using a fine needle. The solution irritates the lining of the veins, causing the sides of the veins to stick together, closing and sealing them. After a few weeks the treated veins, which will no longer be filled with blood, will begin to fade while other, stronger veins will begin to take over the role of the damaged veins. Sclerotherapy is normally used for varicose veins and spider veins that are less than 6 millimetres in length.

Why would I have sclerotherapy?

You might be recommended to have sclerotherapy if you have varicose veins or spider veins. A consultation with our vascular surgeons will advise about the best course of treatment for you.

What happens during sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is usually performed as a day case so you’ll be able to go home on the same day, but you may not be able to drive yourself. The operation may be carried out under a local anaesthetic so the area being treated will be numbed.

Sometimes the injection is guided into the vein using images from an ultrasound scan. You may experience mild discomfort or cramp for a couple of minutes, particularly when larger veins are being injected. Sclerotherapy should take less than half an hour.

Several veins can be treated in one session, depending on the size and location of the veins, as well as your own overall health.

What should I expect after sclerotherapy?

We’ll discuss your aftercare and any follow-up appointments with you before you leave hospital. For a few days after the operation you may experience some discomfort which we’ll help you manage with painkillers.

You’ll have bandages or plasters covering the site of the injections which you’ll need to leave on and keep dry for three days. You’ll also need to wear compression stockings for up to a week.

You may need to take some time off work and you’ll need to avoid strenuous exercise for a few days after your operation. A few weeks after your operation the treated veins should begin to fade from view, gradually disappearing completely after a few months.

Sclerotherapy is proven to be effective for most patients, although for some, the veins may reappear and require further treatments. Sclerotherapy may not be recommended if you’ve previously had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

Contact Benenden Hospital

It’s easy to make an appointment; you can ask your GP or give us a call on 01580 230661.