Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy Summary
The procedure to eliminate varicose veins and spider veins is called sclerotherapy. Generally a salt solution is injected directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to swell and stick together, and the blood to clot. After a period of time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.
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Sclerotherapy facts

  • During the sclerotherapy procedure, a health-care professional injects chemicals into smaller veins, which damage the inner lining and produce a clot. As the clot is reabsorbed, the vessel is permanently obliterated.
  • The choice of the chemical sclerosing agent and its physical form depend on the size of the vessel to be treated.
  • Treatment of the correct vessels can improve the symptoms of venous insufficiency.
  • Small superficial vessels are often destroyed for cosmetic reasons.

What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure whereby a chemical, the sclerosant, is injected into a vein to entirely obliterate it. The sclerosant damages the innermost lining of the vessel, resulting in a clot that blocks the blood circulation in the vein beyond. Veins carry unoxygenated blood from the peripheral tissues back to the heart. Since the blood pressure in the veins is low, the blood is pumped by forward by contractions of the heart. To prevent back-flow, most veins have valves that only allow blood only to flow in the direction of the heart. When these valves become incompetent, veins become enlarged and bulging (varicose). Smaller veins that feed these varicose veins can also become enlarged and appear as red or blue spider veins in the skin. Varicose veins can lead to a chronic swelling condition of the leg called venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency predisposes a person to blood clots and skin ulceration. Even more frequently, damaged veins are manifested as unsightly spider veins. The destruction of these types of veins can be desirable both medically and cosmetically.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/28/2013


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