Compression stockings are usually worn for two weeks after sclerotherapy to reduce the risk of the vessels reopening, and to reduce the likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The compression also assists in reducing pigmentation of the skin after treatment.
Walking for 30 minutes each day after treatment is recommended as is avoiding standing still for long periods of time. Exercise and interstate travel should be avoided for two weeks after treatment, and overseas travel is not advisable until six weeks after sclerotherapy.
Recovery process – side effects and complications
Sclerotherapy, in the hands of an experienced and well-trained doctor, is generally a very safe procedure. On the whole, legs will look worse before they begin to look better.
The following side-effects may occur:
- Allergic reactions to the sclerosant can occur, but are uncommon.
- Bruising around the injection sites is common and usually resolves within a few weeks.
- Some veins may appear much darker after treatment.
- Redness, inflammation or swelling can occur in the injected areas.
- Skin-colour changes or brown pigmentation can occur as a result of iron pigments being released from treated veins. The discolouration usually disappears over several weeks.
- Tender lumps are common in the treated vein and are another sign that treatment has been successful. Walking can be particularly helpful for this.
- Some patients may develop a small network of fine capillaries after treatment. This is called matting and may resolve by itself within a few months or may require further treatment.
- Scarring is very uncommon.
- Blood clots in the deep vein system (DVTs) are rare.
- Injection of sclerosant into an artery is also extremely rare. This can result in damage to skin and underlying tissues.