What is sclerotherapy for varicose veins?

Arthur W. Perry, MD
Plastic Surgery
Sclerotherapy is the most common method of treating spider veins (capillaries and small veins that become visible through the skin of the legs and thighs). It is an office procedure, performed without any anesthesia. A chemical is injected into the capillaries, injuring the wall. The cells inside the capillary swell, blocking the blood flow. The body is quick to fix itself and will try to repair the blood vessels. Compression stockings flatten the inside of the capillaries (squashing them like a garden hose), allowing them to heal together, creating a permanent seal. The blood can no longer flow through the capillaries.

Sclerotherapy does not destroy capillaries. The remaining collapsed capillaries are unable to hold blood, however. It is the red (or blue) blood inside them that is visible through the clear walls. By blocking the blood flow, the capillaries become invisible. A variety of chemicals can destroy capillaries. 
Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Straight Talk about Cosmetic Surgery (Yale University Press Health & Wellness)

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Continue Learning about Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Spider Veins and Varicose Veins

Large twisted blue or purplish veins visible at the skins surface are known as varicose veins. Any vein in your body can become varicose but it usually occurs in the legs and feet due to the pressure the lower body endures to keep ...

your body upright. It is caused by the weakening of the valves and veins in your legs. Varicose veins are usually hereditary. We are also more prone to get varicose veins as we age. Symptoms include itching, burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs and around the veins. Self-care measures such as exercising, elevating your legs, and wearing compression stockings are used to ease the pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. If these measures dont work, see your doctor to discuss medical treatments that are available to close or remove varicose veins.

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.