1. What is sclerosis?
Sclerosis consists of the injection of an irritant into the lumen of the vein. This irritation produces a contraction of the vein, which then fibroses up and is slowly absorbed by the body. The treatment is rapid and ambulatory and does not need any anaesthesia.
This technique will deal with most veins except the very large and can be used to tidy up the leg after vein surgery (stripping). It is now possible to perform the injection under the guidance of ultrasound, which allows treatment of deeper veins and gives additional security and effectiveness.
2. Is it painful?
Through constant daily use our doctors are able to place the needle directly into the vein with the minimum of fuss. Some of the products used cause a brief mild stinging for a few seconds only. In the days following treatment there may be a bit of aching in the legs but this disappears with no further action needed.
3. What is the level of success?
On condition that the veins are accurately mapped out using the Doppler ultrasound, and that treatment is with one of our highly experienced doctors you can rely on a success rate of over 90%.
4. Are there any contra-indications allergies etc?
Certain blood disorders may predispose to clotting problems and affected individuals should avoid this treatment. There are rare cases of allergy to the sclerosing products used, but our doctors are experienced and well able to deal with any problems. With the modern tendency to use the sclerosants in the form of a mousse the older more irritant products such as iodine are now rarely used.
5. Are there any particular measures to be taken after a sclerosis treatment?
Plasters are put over each injection site and kept on for a maximum of 48hrs. During this time it is best to avoid baths and showers. Maintain normal physical and sporting activities and try to avoid periods of bed rest during the day. Sometimes haematomas form (a collection of blood) and these disperse after a couple of weeks. After the treatment of thread veins its not necessary to wear elastic support stockings. After large vein treatment local inflammation is possible but normal activities should carry on regardless, and it will disappear with elastic support and mild painkillers.
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6. Why is ultrasound treatment necessary before the start of treatment?
Certain veins, which are neither visible nor palpable, may be important in supplying the superficial visible varices. Its essential to treat these veins first. The ultra sound examination, which is painless, is the key to planning an accurate and effective treatment whether by surgery or sclerosis. Good results are only obtained with good quality initial ultrasound imaging.
7. Are the results permanent?
Individuals who develop varices have a tendency to go on producing new ones over the years. The treatment will sort out varices present at that time but over the years new ones will develop and they can readily be dealt with. We recommend one or two top up treatments a year to maintain trouble free legs. It will avoid the need for major treatments at a later date.
8. How many treatment sessions are needed?
This depends on the severity of the varices and the desired aesthetic result. Several sessions are usually necessary at monthly intervals.
9. Do the injections have to be done by a doctor?
In France only doctors are allowed to practice sclerotherapy. An initial examination is essential and a doctor is able to check for contraindications and manage any rare instances of allergy.
10. Is it possible to treat large Varicosities by injection?
When the veins are very large and long, surgery is the preferred treatment for a quick result. Sclerotherapy is indicated however if surgery is not possible or the patient does not want an operation. All other veins can readily be treated by sclerotherapy. In all cases the results are dependent on how susceptible the patient is to the sclerosing solution and occasionally it will not be successful for the largest veins.
11. What about veins in other parts of the body?
On the face the laser may be the treatment of choice. Elsewhere sclerotherapy gives excellent results.