What does the recovery process for sclerotherapy entail? Before answering this question about sclerotherapy recovery, it is best to learn a little bit about sclerotherapy itself. Sclerotherapy is a type of office-based procedure performed for both varicose veins and spider veins. It is a new type of procedure and is usually preferential over surgical procedures, like vein stripping. During the procedure, a needle is introduced into the spider or varicose veins and a chemical is placed into the vein. The chemical causes destruction on the inside of the vein, leading to scar formation and the entire vein scars completely. This scarring prevents any further blood flow and the vein is eventually removed by the body. Just because the vein is removed doesn’t mean that the legs will no longer receive any blood flow, rather alternate veins will supply blood flow while the body creates new veins, in a process called neovascularization.
How is the Sclerotherapy Recovery?
As you may have already figured from an office-based procedure, you are able to go directly home and downtime is minimal.
For the first 2 days, you should rest and take it easy without overdoing exercise, work, or home improvement projects. A follow-up appointment is typical about 2 weeks after the procedure so that your doctor may determine how you are progressing and if you need to continue with any of the restrictions that have been given.
Common Instructions for Sclerotherapy Recovery
The following contains some of the common instructions that may be given by your doctor. Always follow your doctor’s instructions for the best recovery possible.
- Wear your compression stockings for about 2 weeks. Compression helps to reduce swelling, which is evident after a procedure but also prevents excess blood from sitting in the veins, particularly the veins that were just treated with sclerotherapy.
- Walk at least once daily. Start out walking slowly and increase the amount of time that you are walking as you are comfortable so that you are able to walk for 30-60 minutes several times per week.
- Avoid medications that may thin your blood for about 5-7 days. This includes prescription medications like Coumadin, but also over the counter medications like Aspirin and Ibuprofen or Advil.
- Care for you wound by leaving the bandage in place for about 2 days after the procedure. You may shower normally after removing the bandage, but as you are still healing should avoid hot tubs, swimming, or soaking in the tub, until the wound is fully healed in about 7 days.
- Protect your skin by wearing sunscreen or clothing that will cover your skin, as sun exposure in the first 2 weeks after this procedure may lead to hyperpigmentation or changes in pigmentation.
Along with following set instructions for sclerotherapy recovery, watch for redness or swelling around your wound, drainage from your wound, pain or swelling in one leg that prevents walking and seek prompt care, as this may be a sign of a complication such as infection or a blood clot.
Sclerotherapy is an excellent option to treat varicose and spider veins with minimal recovery. Please be aware that more than one session of sclerotherapy may be necessary to treat your varicose veins and spider veins. This will be determined based on how you are recovering after your first session, how many veins need treatment, and the size of the veins.
Talk to a Vein Specialist
Speak with Dr. Julian Javier, a board certified interventional cardiologist and endovascular specialist in Naples, Florida. He will discuss your medical history, perform a thorough exam, and determine if you are experiencing spider veins and discuss further options on how to treat your spider veins and varicose veins. He will also explain if sclerotherapy is the right treatment option for you and all the instructions you should follow to have a full recovery after sclerotherapy treatment.