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What Is Sclerotherapy?

If you have red, purple and blue blood vessels that are twisted and visible through the skin (also called spider veins), you are not alone. Up to 60% of adults suffer from this condition. The good news is Fairfax Vascular Center offers a minimally invasive procedure called Sclerotherapy that can be used to treat spider veins, as well as smaller varicose veins, with little no down time. You are able to go home the very same day.

More than 25 percent of the adult population will suffer from problematic vein conditions at some point in their lives. These conditions can range from unappealing spider veins, to painful varicose veins, that can cause more serious health problems.

Are There Treatments?

Spider veins are the small red or blue veins that form in the skin of the legs in many people, especially in women. While spider veins can be unsightly and may cause tingling, itching, or burning, they are rarely a serious health problem and can be easily taken care of with a simple injection technique, called sclerotherapy, to improve the appearance of the affected areas.

Varicose veins are larger, blue bulging veins that are usually a sign of one of the most common vein disorders, called venous insufficiency. Symptoms may include aching pain that worsens after prolonged sitting or standing, restless legs, heaviness, and swelling. In severe cases, this can lead to darkening of the skin or even skin breakdown, called a venous ulcer. Fortunately, even these more serious problems can now be easily treated by closing down the affected veins with a specialized laser technology, called laser ablation or ELVS.

Sclerotherapy is performed by injecting a medication into the lining of the vein, causing it to close and the blood to reroute to healthy veins, improving circulation and appearance. Sclerotherapy is helpful for treating veins when they first appear, before they become further complicated and unsightly. Some patients may require several treatment sessions, depending upon the complexity of the vein protrusion and the number of vein regions requiring treatment. During your initial appointment, our staff will provide you with pre-procedure instructions. It is very important that you follow these instructions and take any prescribed medication. During this procedure, your Interventional Radiologist will use a small needle to inject a medication into the lining of the vein. You may experience a slight sting when the medication enters the vein. Once the medication is injected, the needle is withdrawn and a compression pad is applied while the Radiologist moves onto the next vein and repeats the process. Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy may be used as a guide when treating an abnormal vein below the skin or when Laser Ablation is not possible. During this procedure, Sclerotherapy is performed as described, but Ultrasound technology allows the veins to be visualized on a screen.

You will receive complete post-procedure instructions before leaving our center. Mild bruising of the area is normal and should go away within two weeks. You may resume normal activities immediately. Light exercise, such as walking is encouraged. Hot baths, hot tubs and saunas should be avoided for one week. Air travel should be avoided for three weeks. You will be instructed to wear compression socks or compression bandages for about two weeks following the treatment.  A follow-up visit should be scheduled for two weeks after treatment.

Why Choose Fairfax Vascular Center?

At the Fairfax Vascular Center, we will not just provide you with a treatment for your vein problems, we will help you understand the cause of them. As one of the leading centers for veins, varicose veins and spider vein treatment in the region, we are fully accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and we are the first vein center in the DC area to receive top accreditation by The Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC).

Our physicians have helped more than 10,000 patients who suffer from painful, unsightly and debilitating vein conditions get back to living their lives with minimal discomfort and maximum confidence.

The Region’s Top Doctors

When you are at our Center, you’re the center of our care. You will meet and consult with one of our experienced vein providers.

A doctor in a lab coat and stethoscope, talking to a patient

Our board-certified physicians are Vascular and Interventional Specialists for fibroid, prostate, oncology, leg and knee and spinal conditions.

Our physicians are among the most experienced in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and are affiliated with the region’s top-ranked hospitals, including Inova Fairfax Medical Campus. Our team of doctors also perform procedures in our area hospitals.

Team members are consistently selected as “Top Doctors”. We utilize Interventional Radiology, for the treatment of vein and vascular conditions, in the comfort of an outpatient setting. Feel great knowing you are receiving the best outpatient vascular care in the D.C. area.


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Schedule a consultation with one of our vein and vascular doctors today.