What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive medical procedure we perform to treat varicose and spider veins. The procedure works by collapsing these veins through the use of a solvent. Sclerotherapy has been used on patients for decades, producing highly effective medical and cosmetic results.

Reasons for Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy Bellevue WA

A patient may desire sclerotherapy, and Dr. Tarbet may recommend the procedure if a patient has one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Pain, aching or burning sensations
  • Swelling or redness at the site
  • Cramping of the legs, especially at night
  • Scaly, dry or discolored skin
  • Discomfort after sitting or standing for long periods

May people seek sclerotherapy because the veins are unattractive or because the diseased veins are causing unpleasant and/or dangerous symptoms. If you are troubled by varicose veins, schedule a consultation with Dr. Kristin Tarbet and see if sclerotherapy is right for you.

Sclerotherapy Procedure

For the sclerotherapy procedure, a solution of saline and a sclerosant is injected into the damaged veins. This solution will cause irritation in the affected veins and cause them to collapse. Dr. Tarbet uses ultrasound to guide her through the procedure to ensure precision. Once the weakened veins collapse, they will be reabsorbed into the body. Healthier veins will take their place in the circulatory system.Sclerotherapy is a safe procedure and is performed outpatient in the Dr. Tarbet’s office. Typically, the sclerotherapy procedure takes is less than an hour to perform. The procedure may take longer, depending on the required amount of injections and the number of veins involved. Patients do not require an anesthetic and usually report little or no discomfort during the procedure. Patients may experience only a mild burning sensation. Depending on the severity of the veins, multiple sclerotherapy treatments may be necessary.

Risks of Sclerotherapy

Although sclerotherapy is a safe and effective procedure, there are certain risks associated with any medical procedure. Certain minimal, temporary side effects are to be expected, including bruising and discoloration. More serious complications are rare, but may include:

  • Inflammation – Swelling, warmth and discomfort around the injection site may indicate the presence of an infection. Dr. Tarbet can prescribe antibiotics for this.
  • Blood Clot – A lump of clotted blood may form in a treated vein and require drainage.
  • Air Bubbles – Tiny air bubbles may rise in the bloodstream. These may not result in any symptoms. If the patient experiences visual disturbances, headache, coughing or nausea, Dr. Tarbet should be contacted.
  • Nerve Damage – Numbness or odd sensations in the affected limb following sclerotherapy. This should be investigated by the doctor.

Another rare, but possible complication is for a patient to have a severe allergic reaction to the sclerosant used in the treatment.

Recovery from Sclerotherapy

After the sclerotherapy procedure, patients are able to return home shortly. Most patients can return to work and resume normal activities the next day. We recommend avoiding exercise and strenuous activities for week or two. Compression bandages usually need to be worn for a week or so after the procedure. Although it may take up to a month for the patient to see full results, improvement is usually visible immediately.

Schedule a Consultation

If you suffer from painful and unattractive spider or varicose veins, sclerotherapy may be the right treatment for you! Call our Bellevue, WA office at 425-455-2131 to schedule a consultation with Kristin J. Tarbet, MD.

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