RisksBy Mayo Clinic staff
Sclerotherapy is a fairly safe procedure with few complications.
Temporary side effects
Some side effects that may occur at the site of the injection include:
- Raised red areas
- Small skin sores
- Darkened skin in the form of lines or spots
- Multiple tiny red blood vessels
These side effects usually go away within a few days to several weeks.
Side effects that may require treatment
Other complications are less common but may require treatment. These include:
- Inflammation. This is usually mild but may cause swelling, warmth and discomfort around the injection site. Your doctor may suggest aspirin or antibiotics to reduce the inflammation.
- Blood clot. A lump of clotted blood may form in a treated vein that may require drainage. Rarely, a blood clot may travel to a deeper vein in your leg (deep vein thrombosis). Deep vein thrombosis carries a risk of pulmonary embolism, an emergency situation where the clot travels from your leg to your lungs and blocks a vital artery. Seek immediate medical care if you experience difficulty breathing, chest pain or dizziness, or you cough up blood.
- Air bubbles. Tiny air bubbles may rise in your bloodstream. These don't always cause symptoms, but if they do, symptoms include visual disturbances, headache, coughing and nausea. These symptoms generally go away, but call your doctor if you experience problems with limb movement or sensation after the procedure.
- Allergic reaction. It's possible that you may have an allergic reaction to the solution used for treatment, but this is uncommon.
- Sclerotherapy of varicose veins and spider veins. Radiological Society of North America. www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=sclerotherapy. Accessed Nov. 13, 2012.
- Varicose veins and spider veins fact sheet. National Women's Health Information Center. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/varicose-spider-veins.cfm. Accessed Nov. 13, 2012.
- Gloviczki P, et al. The care of patients with varicose veins and associated chronic venous diseases: Clinical practice guidelines of the Society for Vascular Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(5):2S.
- Murad MH, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of the treatments of varicose veins. Journal of Vascular Surgery. 2011;53(5):49S.
- Greenberg DL, et al. Liquid and foam sclerotherapy techniques for lower extremity vein ablation. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed Nov. 13, 2012.