Sclerotherapy Recovery

Sclerotherapy recovery is a process which is usually complete after just a few weeks. As sclerotherapy is a non-surgical procedure, patients will be able to continue their normal routine straight after the treatment has been completed, with most people only experiencing very minor cosmetic side effects which are likely to clear up by themselves in a couple of weeks.

What is Sclerotherapy Recovery?

Sclerotherapy recovery is the process of healing which takes place after a patient has been treated using sclerotherapy.

What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a cosmetic procedure used to improve the appearance of varicose veins and spider veins. It involves a doctor or healthcare professional injecting a medical solution into the lymph vessels and blood vessels which causes them to contract.

It is a non-surgical procedure, with just one injection required in some cases. A solution containing a form of medication known as a sclerosant is injected directly into the blood vessels. This solution causes irritation, forcing the blood vessels to swell beyond their normal size. The inflammation cuts the blood flow or the flow of lymphatic fluid and the vessel contracts.

This is not a new method of treatment, with similar procedures having been used since the 19th Century. The techniques and medications used, however, have become much more sophisticated and cutting-edge in the last few decades.

In addition to varicose veins and spider veins, sclerotherapy has been known to be used in the treatment of the following conditions:

  • Hydroceles (unhealthy build-up of fluid in a bodily cavity, most commonly associated with the testicles)
  • Hemorrhoids (swollen blood vessels around the rectum which cause pain during bowel movements)
  • Malformed lymph vessels (irregularities in the formation of vessels which transport lymphatic fluid around the body)

How long does Sclerotherapy Recovery take?

The vast majority of patients treated using sclerotherapy will be able to leave the hospital or clinic on the same day they were admitted. As a minimally invasive procedure, sclerotherapy is low-risk and patients will not need to be monitored afterwards. As sclerotherapy is largely carried out for cosmetic reasons, it does not have a huge impact on the function of the body. Patients should be able to continue their usual routine from the day they leave the hospital.

Sclerotherapy is a treatment method which only uses injections, and therefore requires no anesthetic. This aids recovery time enormously, as patients will not have to wait for the anesthesia to wear off, or have to deal with the lagging side effects as a result of the anesthetics used.

The most common side effects of sclerotherapy should not interfere with a patient’s usual routine or stop them from taking part in normal activities. These common side effects during recovery include:

  • Bruising
  • Pain around the injection site
  • Mild discoloration of the skin
  • Redness of the the skin
  • Small tree-like branches of blood vessels under the skin

These side effects are all common parts of the recovery process, and will usually clear up completely on their own as the body heals. If any of these symptoms persist after 2-3 weeks, patients should get in touch with their healthcare professional to arrange a post-procedure check-up to make sure that there are no further complications.

Possible complications of sclerotherapy

As a minimally invasive procedure, sclerotherapy carries very few risks in comparison to surgery. There are a few serious complications which could arise as a result of the treatment, but these are extremely rare. These complications would hinder sclerotherapy recovery, and require patients to seek further medical attention. Possible complications include:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Discoloration of the skin
  • Air bubbles in the bloodstream
  • Blood clots

Allergic reactions to the solution injected as part of the sclerotherapy treatment are extremely rare. Healthcare professionals may carry out an allergy test before the treatment if they think that you might be at particular risk, but this is not always actioned. It will usually be obvious to spot an allergic reaction at the time of the procedure, and the person administering the treatment will be able to react accordingly. However, less severe allergic reactions can develop after the patient has left the premises. Seek medical attention if you experience any of the following after receiving sclerotherapy treatment:

  • Burning pains in the treated vein(s)
  • Dramatic changes in skin color in the affected area
  • Hives or rashes near the injection site(s)
  • Swelling and inflammation near the treated area
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the face, throat, lips or tongue
  • Air in the bloodstream

The reason that healthcare professionals are seen to tap the syringe before injecting solutions into the body is to clear any air bubbles from the liquid.

This is a very rare complication of sclerotherapy, but seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Dramatic changes in vision (e.g. difficulty seeing, blacked-out vision, blurred vision, seeing double)
  • Severe headaches and migraines
  • Severe nausea or vomiting
  • Blood clots

In very rare cases, blood clots can form in the treated veins. Whilst they remain in the legs, the blood clots can cause swelling if they block veins and stop the blood from being able to move around the body as easily. If they are left untreated, blood clots can move around the body and cause a fatal embolism. If patients experience any of the following symptoms after their sclerotherapy procedure, they should seek urgent medical attention:

  • Chest pains
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty breathing

What can you do to aid Sclerotherapy Recovery?

Doctors and healthcare professionals recommend that patients wear compression dressings for up to 3 weeks after having undergone sclerotherapy treatment. Most doctors will also schedule a follow-up appointment for 2 weeks after the procedure. In this appointment, they can facilitate the elimination of blood clots in some of the largest veins if necessary. Doing this can help to improve the effectiveness of the treatment in terms of its impact on the appearance of the veins.