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What side effects can I expect after sclerotherapy?

This question was asked in Gentry, Arkansas and has 4 answer(s) as of 07/02/2013.
I had sclerotherapy done to get rid of some varicose veins for the first time about a week ago. I still have some bruising, is that normal? When will it go away? Also I feel as if the veins look worse, darker and more prominent. I was out in the sun but I was careful to wear sunscreen and cover my legs. Will the discoloration and bruising go away?

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Doctors Answers (4)

Following sclerotherapy, mild bruising is common and will of course disappear over several weeks time. The darkening over some of the larger veins is non-circulating blood that is being metabolized and breaking down often referred to as "trapped blood". As this small pocket of blood is metabolized it releases iron which is very dark in color (think of a black cast iron pan), and very insoluble so it will deposit over the skin and can lead to a brown to black hemosiderin stain. You should follow-up with the physician that did the sclerotherapy to release the trapped blood (using a small needle) which prevents and minimizes staining and speeds up the disappearance of the treated veins.

Yes, the bruising should gradually resolve over the next weeks. Avoiding direct sun exposure is recommended for faster resolution.

Bruising at injection sites for sclerotherapy varies a great deal from patient to patient and from injection site to another injection site. Bruising will resolve. Sclerotherapy involves injection of a drug into a vein to cause the vein to swell and seal itself shut. Over time, the vein shrinks and disappears. Many veins, especially the larger veins near the surface of the skin will look darker initially because there is dead blood trapped within the treated vein. The dead blood is darker in appearance than flowing blood. This, too, will resolve with time and may take weeks to months to do so. Routine daily use of elastic compression hose will speed up resolution of these changes.

Everyone is different, but I've never seen permanent bruising or discoloration. I have had one patient in ten years that it took 24 months for this to completely resolve. Most patients take on average 4-8 weeks. There are some creams that may speed up the process. Ask your Doctor or come see us if you have more concerns.

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