Sclerotherapy is the preferred treatment for minimizing small superficial leg veins. It involves the insertion of a tiny needle into the blood vessel where a small amount of a sclerosing agent is gently injected. This causes "sclerosis" which is the formation of fibrous tissue within the blood vessel, leading to the gradual disappearance of that vessel. Fading of the vessel may take from a few weeks to several months.
Number of Sclerotherapy Treatments
Many people do well with a single treatment; however, it is not unusual to require two to three treatment sessions for a lasting effect. For certain people with large quantities of treatable veinsn more than one session may be needed.
Sclerotherapy is capable of targeting only the small veins that are present at the time of treatment, but does not prevent the development of new veins in a person with that tendency. While there may be a long term disappearance of treated veins, new veins could develop in the susceptible person.
The Safety of Sclerotherapy
Most people tolerate the treatment very well without significant adverse effects. Rarely, in less than 0.01% of treated patients, an allergic reaction to the sclerosant can be seen. There are also certain people who should not undergo sclerotherapy: pregnant women, people over 60, obese people, people with multiple large and/or painful varicose veins, people with a history of a deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolus/clotting disorder, people with heart or liver disease, HIV, recent cancer or chemotherapy.
Sclerotherapy vs. Laser Treatment
Sclerotherapy is still the standard of care for treatment of small caliber green/purple/blue phlebectasias. Certain lasers may be more effective for treatment of the smallest caliber red phlebectasias.