Varicose Veins & Sclerotherapy FAQ

Varicosis is a very common disease that affects over half the population.  The reason for the onset of varicose veins is still unknown, but certain factors such as heredity seem to play a decisive role.


Information on varicose veins

A few words about the disease :

Varicosis is a very common disease that affects over half the population.  The reason for the onset of varicose veins is still unknown, but certain factors such as heredity seem to play a decisive role. The condition can be aggravated by pregnancy, menopause, obesity, aging of body tissue, and the use of birth control pills and other hormone therapy.  Varicose veins have become permanently dilated.  They impede blood flow and hinder the return of blood to the heart from the lower parts of the body.  When the valves in a vein become damaged, they are unable to function properly and reflux can occur.  In other words, blood may flow backwards away from the heart.  This can lead to congestion and bulging of the veins.

A few words about the treatments:

At one time, there was no alternative to surgery in the treatment of varicose and spider veins.  However, since the 1920′s a non-surgical procedure called sclerotherapy has been used in Europe.  During sclerotherapy, a solution is injected into the diseased, dilated vein.  This injection causes a reaction in the wall of the vein and sclerosis, or hardening of the vein results.  This hardening prevents blood from flowing through the treated vein.
Blood is re-routed naturally through the healthy superficial and deep venous systems and eventually the treated veins disappear.  When properly performed, sclerotherapy is effective in safely treating both large varicose veins and smaller spider veins.

1- Can all kinds of varicose veins be treated?

Yes. Large veins, spider veins can all be safely treated by sclerotherapy, surgery or laser.

2- How many treatments will I need?

From 2  to 6 treatments may be required, depending on the extent of the damage.

3- How many injections will I be given during each visit?

The number of injections will vary.  It’s not the number of injections that determines the effectiveness of the treatment, but the type of sclerosing agent used, its dosage and site of the injections.

4- Does the treatment involve any risk?

All medical treatments entail a certain degree of risk.  Minor complications are superficial thrombophlebitis, skin pigmentation, little allergic reactions, swelling of the legs; these problems can be treated easily or even disappear spontaneously after a few months.  More serious complications like injection of the agent into an artery resulting in a leg ulcer, deep thrombophlebitis, severe allergies have been described in the medical literature, but fortunately are extremely rare.  All these complications will be discussed during your 1st visit with Dr. Rowen.

5- Should I  rest after each treatment?

No.  You will be able to go back to your regular activities just after the treatment, even exercise (light).

6- What can I do to prevent varicose veins after my treatment?

Wear comfortable shoes, preferably with a 1 to 2 inch heel.  Avoid wearing girdles. Wear good quality compression stockings, especially if you have to stand or sit for prolonged periods.  Exercise regularly.

7- What about after the treatment?

Small cotton balls will be taped to your leg at the site of the injection and should be removed about 2-3 hours after the treatment. Your other questions will be welcomed during your visits.

8- Once treated, can these veins come back?

No.  The treated veins disappear permanently.  However, other varicose veins can develop.

9- Is the purpose of the treatment strictly esthetic?

The purpose of the treatment is double:

  • esthetically, the treated varicose veins will disappear
  • heavy legs sensation will often also disappear

10- Instructions after sclerotherapy

  • Leave cotton balls on for approximately 2-3 hours after treatment
  • After you remove the tape, wear support stocking for 2 weeks, except to sleep
  • Avoid hot /warm bath, saunas or whirlpools for 2 weeks post treatment. Hot/warm showers are fine
  • There is no restriction on activity after treatment, except weight lifting. Try to avoid bumping legs while exercising.
  • If you develop tender lumps on legs usually 1 – 2 weeks after treatment at the side of injection, please call the office to make an appointment. These lumps are often bruises in the treated vein and can be relieved very easily
  • For follow up visits, please do not put any cream/lotion for 2 days prior to treatment.
  • If you have any questions, please call !
  • A 24 hour cancellation notice is required of all patients.


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