Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is a procedure used to treat blood vessels or blood vessel malformations (vascular malformations) and also those of the lymphatic system. A medicine is injected into the vessels, which makes them shrink. It is used for children and young adults with vascular or lymphatic malformations. In adults, sclerotherapy is often used to treat varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

Sclerotherapy does not require any type of anesthesia and is usually done inside a doctor's office. The patient will be asked to come to the office wearing loose fitting clothing as so the spider or varicose veins can be easily identified. Some may experience minor pain and may request a topical local anesthetic, which can be pasted on the skin about 30 minutes before the procedure. Most patients only feel a little sting after each injection, with a minor burning sensation lasting only a few seconds.

Most patients will wear a compression stocking for a short period after the treatment, in case of any lingering problems with the veins. It is advised to undergo a few treatments (2-4) for best results, depending on the severity of the problem. Some patients might only need 1 or 2 treatments. For multiple spider veins, up to 15-20 injections can be done at each seating. Each session is usually done in monthly intervals.

Sclerotherapy advantages

  1. It can treat more hemorrhoids at once, unlike other procedures.
  2. It is less expensive than surgical procedures.
  3. It shows results relatively fast, as the piles fall off in about a week after the injections.
  4. Many procedures can be risky for elderly people, which have very delicate blood vessels. Sclerotherapy is the recommended hemorrhoids removal method for elderly patients, as it does not require surgery.

Sclerotherapy disadvantages

  1. Sclerotherapy can fail in many cases, especially when the hemorrhoids are large. Therefore it is only recommended for people that suffer from small hemorrhoids. For larger piles, surgical procedures are more appropriate.
  2. Sclerotherapy will not completely cure hemorrhoids, as they usually come back in a couple of years after the treatment.

Risks and complications

  • Infertility - if the injected solution accidentally reaches the testicles.
  • Urine retention - if the substance is accidentally injected into the prostate.
  • Bleeding - Immediate bleeding can occur if an artery is damaged during the procedure, but it can easily be stopped.
  • Prostate Abscess (very rare) - It can occur if the solution is injected into the prostate and it must surgically removed.