Manhattan Vein Specialists: Everything You Need To Know About Sclerotherapy
Posted: May 12, 2015
One of the most common procedures used to treat small varicose veins and spider veins is called sclerotherapy. To understand how it works to effectively close and remove diseased veins, you need to know a little about how veins work when they are healthy. Unlike arteries, your veins don't have internal muscles with which to pump blood. Instead the contraction of nearby muscles causes the veins to contract and pump blood "upwards" towards the heart and lungs. In healthy veins, this flow is unidirectional because tiny valves in each vein open to allow the blood to pass through, but then close to keep it from flowing back in.
If these venous valves become damaged, a condition called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) develops, and blood begins to pool in the veins, causing them to swell, turn the bluish-purple color of deoxygenated blood, and become varicose. Once CVI has damaged these veins, they cannot be repaired. So to remove the unsightly and unhealthy veins, a common varicose vein treatment in NYC is to seal them permanently using sclerotherapy.
How exactly is sclerotherapy performed and what does it do?
If you are a candidate for sclerotherapy, your NYC vein treatment specialists first use ultrasound to pinpoint the exact location of the CVI-impaired veins. Then, while you relax in a chair or recline on a table, your doctor inserts a tiny catheter directly into the diseased vein and then, using ultrasound to guide the catheter precisely into place, injects a sclerosing liquid or foam medication directly into the vein. This medication makes the internal walls of the vein stick together, causing the vein to collapse. Over time, the collapsed veins are absorbed into nearby muscle tissue and disappear. Your overall circulation is not affected because healthier veins take over the job of pumping blood to the heart.
Sclerotherapy works in a fairly high percentage of patients to close spider veins, improve the appearance of their legs, and more important, improve their overall circulation. Multiple treatment sessions may be required, because each vein has to be treated individually, and in some cases follow-up treatment can be required to make sure that the treated veins have collapsed entirely.
Is sclerotherapy painful? Does it take long to recover from?
Because the catheter used to inject the sclerosing compound is smaller than the needle used to give you a flu shot, the procedure isn't painful at all, and most patients don't even ask for a local anesthetic. Each treatment takes from 35 minutes to an hour, and afterwards you will wear bandages and/or compression stockings for a few days to speed healing and improve your circulation. But you can immediately return to your home or work; some patients literally have their varicose veins removed using sclerotherapy on their lunch breaks.
There is therefore no real "recovery period" needed after the procedure. It will take some time before the last lingering traces of the removed varicose veins or spider veins fully disappear, but for most patients this happens within 3-4 weeks. The swollen and discolored veins that have been removed will not return or "relapse," although your Manhattan vein specialists will want you to return for periodic checkups to make sure no new varicose or spider veins develop.
So how do I get started if I am interested in sclerotherapy?
Your first step should be to pick up your phone, call our NYC vein treatment center at 646-233-1838, and schedule a venous health screening to determine the extent of your vein disease. If sclerotherapy is the best option for you, your New York Cardiovascular Associates doctors will explain more about the process to you and schedule treatments. If other treatment options are more appropriate, they will explain those options to you as well. To help you understand all of these options, we have placed informative articles about each of them on our website at http://www.nycva.org/.Author Bio: Vein Treatment Manhattan and nycva.org explain everything you need to know about the minimally-invasive treatment for varicose veins known as sclerotherapy
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