Sclerotherapy consists of injecting a medical solution into a target vein which causes it to shrink and then dissolve over a period of weeks. Sclerotherapy has been employed in the treatment of varicose veins for over 150 years and treatments have evolved during that time. Modern techniques include ultrasound guidance and foam sclerotherapy.
Sclerotherapy is a non-invasive procedure in which a sclerosant solution is injected into the abnormal surface veins. The patient's leg is then compressed with either stockings or bandages The procedure takes only about 10 to 15 minutes to perform with minimal downtime Sclerotherapy it is considered the "gold standard" and is preferred over laser for eliminating spider and varicose leg veins. Unlike a laser, the sclerosing solution additionally closes the "feeder veins" under the skin that are causing the spider veins to form, thereby making a recurrence of the spider less likely.
Sclerotherapy can also be performed using "foamed sclerosant drugs" under ultrasound guidance to treat larger varicose veins. After a map of the patient's varicose veins is created using ultrasound, these veins are injected whilst real-time monitoring of the injections is undertaken, also using ultrasound. The sclerosant can be observed entering the vein, and further injections performed so that all the abnormal veins are treated. Follow-up ultrasound scans are used to confirm closure of the treated veins, and any residual varicose veins can be identified and treated.