When you have varicose veins, early treatment can prevent problems from progressing. One of the most popular treatments we offer at our Houston area vein clinics is sclerotherapy. But what is sclerotherapy? And what happens to veins after sclerotherapy? Will the vein problems return or can you count on lasting results? Keep reading for all the answers you need to know!
What Causes Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that most often appear in the calves and thighs. They develop when blood pools in and overfills your healthy veins because of poor circulation. As such, your varicose veins may return after sclerotherapy if you don’t take measures to boost circulation and improve your overall vein health.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Our Texas vein specialists perform two types of sclerotherapy in our Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, Clear Lake, Woodlands and Dallas offices. First is cosmetic sclerotherapy, a procedure that’s best for varicose veins that aren’t causing troubling symptoms, or for surface-level spider veins.
During cosmetic sclerotherapy, one of our doctors will inject a solution into your affected vein. That triggers two responses in your body. First, this sends blood flowing through healthy veins. Best of all, we can perform the procedure without sedation or anesthesia.
What Happens to Veins After Sclerotherapy That’s Cosmetic?
If you have multiple or larger spider veins, our team may give you several injections. After each one, we’ll apply compression, gently massaging your leg to spread the injected solution and to keep blood from entering your damaged vein. Right after your procedure, you’ll be able to get up and walk. But you will have to wear compression socks for at least a week, avoiding strenuous activities and sun exposure for two weeks. You should notice results within three weeks of the procedure, but sclerotherapy results can take up to six months, especially for larger varicose veins may take up to six months.
What is Foam Sclerotherapy?
Foam or ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is the other form of this procedure we offer at our clinics. It’s a follow-up procedure for varicose veins that remain (without bulging) after you already treated them with radiofrequency ablation. What happens to veins after foam sclerotherapy? Not only will the veins appearance improve, you should also experience relief from varicose vein symptoms such as itchy, achy or heavy legs.
During this procedure, we locate varicose veins using ultrasound. Then, we mix medication with
Foam sclerotherapy uses ultrasound to locate and access a varicose vein under the skin with a tiny needle carbon dioxide gas. This combo creates a foam we can inject directly into abnormal veins, permanently closing them to blood flow. After foam sclerotherapy, you’ll need to wear your compression socks for a week, and walk for at least 30 minutes each day. As with cosmetic sclerotherapy, you’ll have to stay out of the sun for two weeks following the procedure. Small varicose veins show a noticeable improvement within three to six weeks. But larger ones can take up to six months to show improvement.
What Happens to Varicose Veins after Sclerotherapy or Other Vein Treatments?
Sometimes, varicose veins return after treatment. In some cases, that’s because you chose the wrong treatment for your specific condition. (That’s something we help you avoid with a thorough exam and long discussions about your treatment options.) But other times, your body forms new blood vessels in the areas we already treated. (We call this neo-vascularization.) It’s also possible that your body will form varicose veins in new locations, even after previous vein treatments. This is more likely if you have risk factors for vein disease, including family history, pregnancy or obesity.
Reducing the Risk of Varicose Vein Recurrence
While you can’t always prevent varicose veins from forming, you can take lifestyle measures to reduce your risk. First of all, stick with all follow-up care instructions, and all follow up visits with our team, after receiving vein treatment.
Next, take a close look at your diet and exercise routines. Certain foods can boost your vein health. And walking regularly, or getting other forms of low-impact exercise, can also help prevent varicose veins from forming or coming back after sclerotherapy. (Workouts that strengthen your calf muscles are especially helpful, since this helps your body pump blood up and out of your legs, preventing pooling.)
Finally, it’s important to quit smoking if you have this habit. And to reach and maintain a healthy weight to take pressure off your legs and leg veins. Then, if you’re still concerned about what happens to veins after sclerotherapy, schedule an appointment at one of our Houston or Dallas area vein clinics to review post-sclerotherapy vein care.