What is ultrasound guided sclerotherapy?
Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive ablation technique used to eliminate dark, swollen, or enlarged varicose veins that are visible through the surface of the skin. This form of vein therapy is designed to remove varicose veins that are very large or those that have tangled together into large clusters. These veins cannot be treated by regular sclerotherapy due to their large size. The procedure is also effective at removing smaller spider veins if they have tangled and clustered together, but ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is unnecessary for the majority of spider vein treatment. The veins must be large enough to take a needle injection that carries treatment chemicals in order for ultrasound guided sclerotherapy to be performed.
Even though ultrasound guided sclerotherapy requires no surgical incisions, the procedure is often considered to be a form of cosmetic surgery. Many researchers state that varicose veins and spider veins do not pose serious health threats to those affected. However, vein doctors have also advocated for varicose vein treatment as a way to prevent venous diseases such as venous reflux. Venous reflux, also called chronic venous insufficiency, is a progressive disease that needs attention early. Whether looking to treat varicose veins for medical or cosmetic purposes, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is much safer and much less painful than the surgical options that require swollen veins to be physically stripped away from the body.
An ultrasound guided sclerotherapy procedure can last between 15 and 60 minutes, sometimes more, depending on the size and number of veins needing treatment. A liquid agent containing hardening chemicals is injected into the affected veins during the procedure. The attending doctor then guides the needle very precisely by using an ultrasound that tracks the injection. After leaving the doctor’s office, patients are asked to wear special compression socks or compression stockings designed to prevent veins from clumping. Patients must also avoid strenuous physical activity, hot baths, and alcohol consumption for a few days while the medication works.
During the recovery period, the medication scars and hardens varicose veins until they eventually collapse and wither away. The varicose veins and spider veins treated may look like they’re getting worse immediately after receiving the injections, but this is normal. Most swelling fades within a week or so, and the appearance of most veins should completely fade after 6 to 8 weeks. Unfortunately, no form of sclerotherapy can completely cure varicose veins, as the condition is chronic and sometimes recurs. Nonetheless, regular maintenance and use of sclerotherapy may ensure that the reappearance of any swollen veins is kept at bay for several years before needing additional therapy.
For patients interested in reducing the appearance of severe varicose veins and spider veins on the legs, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy has been known to produce great results and is a much safer option than traditional surgery. Contact a vein doctor listed in our medical directory to learn more about vein treatment solutions such as ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.