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Sclerotherapy is not a good treatment for those who have:
A history of vein inflammation (thrombophlebitis), blood clots in the legs, diabetes, arterial or other vascular problems, or leg ulcers
A pregnancy — you're advised to wait until at least 6 months after giving birth
Undergone radical mastectomy
A dialysis shunt
A history of significant trauma to the hands, arms or chest
If it's safe for you to undergo sclerotherapy, you’re still asked to follow certain steps before your procedure and after.
Steps before sclerotherapy
Before coming for your procedure, we ask that you:
Not take Vitamin E or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as Advil, Motrin or aspirin for at least 1 week beforehand, unless instructed by your doctor (Tylenol is often a good substitute)
Consider bringing comfortable shorts to wear during treatment and loose-fitting pants or a long skirt to wear home
Make sure to have compression stockings ready for use after your procedure (our team can help you ensure these are available and appropriately sized). We typically recommend stockings of medium compression (20 to 30mm Hg) that cover the treatment area (knee-high OK if treating below the knee; thigh-high if treating above the knee). You can buy these at a drug store or online prior to your appointment.
Steps after sclerotherapy
After you leave our center, we ask that you:
Continuously wear Ace bandages or compression support hose for 5 days, except to shower. Medium-weight compression support hose are recommended for daytime wear during the 1 to 2 weeks following treatment. These are nonprescription, fitted by height and weight and available in several colors. Ideally, you will purchase compression stockings and bring them to your treatment session, so our team can help ensure they are appropriately sized.
Avoid contact sports, aerobics and use of leg weights for 10 days or so after treatment. A 30-minute, moderately paced walk is OK.
Avoid hot tubs, saunas, warm baths and sunbathing for 2 to 3 days
Sclerotherapy side effects
While serious complications from sclerotherapy are extremely rare, some side effects may occur:
Local swelling and bruising may occur at the injection site and along the vessel, with swelling usually lasting no more than 24 hours and bruising fading within several weeks
Brown discoloration may also occasionally develop, lasting about 3 months and then slowly fading away
While uncommon, small red blood vessels may develop after sclerotherapy. These are often removable with pulsed dye laser treatment. (Learn more about our laser vein treatment.)
Tenderness may occur at the injection site and along the vessel, and may persist for a few days
Immediately following injection, an allergic reaction (typically a local hive-like reaction) may develop at the site, usually lasting no longer than 30 minutes
Mild cramping may occur following injection of the ankle or calf
Scarring is exceedingly rare but may be occur if ulceration develops at the injection site