Sclerotherapy: What Does it Treat, Cost, Aftercare, and Results

Sclerotherapy Complications


Sclerotherapy has some potential complications including;


This is the most common complication and can occur during or after the procedure. It can be serious if a lot of blood is lost.

Bleeding after sclerotherapy can occur immediately after the treatment or up to several weeks later. It can range from a small amount of blood to significant bleeding. The cause of the bleeding can vary, but it may be due to the injection of the sclerosing agent into the vein or from damage to the vein wall.

If you experience any significant bleeding after sclerotherapy, contact your doctor immediately. He or she may need to evaluate you and may recommend further treatment.

Nerve damage

Nerve damage is a rare but potentially serious complication of sclerotherapy. It can occur when the chemical used to treat the veins injures nearby nerves. Symptoms of nerve damage include pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness. These symptoms may persist long after the treatment is completed.

Studies have reported that the incidence of nerve damage after sclerotherapy ranges from 0.1% to 2.8%. The most common type is paresthesia, which is a pins-and-needles sensation. Other types of nerve damage include numbness, tingling, and burning. Nerve damage can occur immediately after the procedure or up to several weeks later.

The cause of nerve damage after sclerotherapy is not fully understood, but it may be due to the injection of the sclerosing agent into the tissue around the nerves or compression of the nerves by the clotting that occurs after the injection. Risk factors for nerve damage include using a large volume of sclerosing agent, using a high concentration of sclerosing agent, and using an incorrectly positioned needle.

Air bubbles

Air bubbles are a common complication after sclerotherapy. They can form in the bloodstream during or after a sclerotherapy treatment. They usually occur when the sclerosing agent is injected into the vein and cause the vein to collapse. The bubbles may travel to other parts of the body and block blood vessels. This can cause pain, shortness of breath and other serious complications, such as a stroke or heart attack.

Most cases of air bubbles after sclerotherapy are mild and resolve on their own without any treatment. If a large air bubble forms, it can even be life-threatening. If you experience any symptoms related to air bubbles, be sure to talk to your doctor.

Why it’s done

In addition to reducing symptoms associated with spider or varicose veins, sclerotherapy improves the physical appearance of areas affected by these conditions. Hemorrhoids are treated with sclerotherapy less frequently.

Your preference and specific symptoms will determine which treatment is appropriate for you. Due to its less invasive nature, you may want to consider sclerotherapy. You may not need any further surgical intervention since it may significantly alleviate your symptoms and the appearance of veins.

One 2016 study found that 80% of the individuals who underwent sclerotherapy didn’t require further surgery to address their symptoms. For more information on sclerotherapy, talk to your doctor.

What are the signs that I am a good candidate for sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is an option for most people with varicose or spider veins, but it is more commonly used in women between the ages of 30 and 60.

In men whose bodies are more covered in hair, these conditions tend to be less noticeable since they become more visible with age.

The procedure is not recommended for people who are bedridden, breastfeeding, pregnant, or who have just given birth.

It will be determined by a vascular specialist whether you are a good candidate for the procedure based on an exam you will undergo.

How sclerotherapy works

It can take anywhere from 30-45 minutes to treat venous problems with sclerotherapy. It may be necessary to raise your legs while getting treatment for your legs, if your doctor wants to treat your legs.

An ultrasound may be used as part of the procedure depending on how deep the damaged vein is beneath your skin.

A doctor will clean the skin around the targeted veins before the procedure begins. You will receive an injection of a sclerosing agent with a fine needle from your doctor, such as:

  • Sulfatehypertonic saline solutions
  • Polidocanolsodium tetradecyl

When the vein walls are sealed shut by the liquid or foam solution, blood is redirected to unaffected veins. Eventually, the damaged vein is absorbed by your body, resulting in a less visible condition.

There may be a need for up to four treatments depending on the size of the treated vein or veins.

A step-by-step guide to preparing for sclerotherapy

A healthcare professional will first consult with you. Depending on your needs, they’ll advise you on whether this procedure is right for you. The following may be recommended next:

To reduce your risk of bleeding, avoid medications such as ibuprofen (Advil) and aspirin (Bufferin). If you are taking these medications, you might experience problems with your blood’s clotting processes. Try compression stockings to decrease irritation before sclerotherapy. It is important to inform your healthcare professional about any other medical issues you may have before your procedure so they can advise you accordingly. You will probably be required to wear them for several days after the procedure.

What to expect after sclerotherapy

The downtime associated with sclerotherapy is minimal to nonexistent. Your everyday activities can likely resume within a few days. There are also some things you should do, such as:

When not showering or sleeping, wear compression socks or stockings. Any pain or discomfort can be treated with medicine based on acetaminophen, such as Tylenol. Ibuprofen and aspirin should be avoided. During the first two days after treatment, staying out of the sun, hot baths, saunas, swimming pools, and the beach is discouraged. Blood clots can be prevented by staying active. It is still recommended that you refrain from aerobic exercises, such as running and weightlifting, for a few days after your surgery. Some medical professionals recommend not flying for several days after a flight.


Generally, sclerotherapy works best on smaller veins, such as varicose veins and spider veins. It may take a few weeks for you to see results from treatment. Up to four months may be required for large varicose veins to improve visually.

For varicose or spider veins to be completely eliminated, you may need several sessions. When it comes to sclerotherapy, it is important to have realistic expectations. Varicose or spider veins may remain visible after sclerotherapy, but this isn’t guaranteed.