Sclerotherapy Side Effects You Need to be Aware of

Sclerotherapy is the process used to deal with blood vessel abnormalities such as hemorrhoids and varicose veins. As with any type of surgery or injection into the body there can be many sclerotherapy side effects, dangers and risks that the patient should be aware of before deciding to undergo this treatment. The most common side effect is mild bruising around the treated area. This bruising may remain for as long as a month, but almost all sclerotherapy side effects are temporary and tolerable. It is extremely unlikely to experience any negative swelling, bruising, discoloration or other negative sclerotherapy side effects for longer than a month.

Sclerotherapy Side Effects

Patients sometimes experience mild pain at the injection site – this is the most common side effect of sclerotherapy. There are several different solutions that may be used for this surgery and each can affect people differently. An experienced professional can alleviate much of the discomfort during injection. The area may be tender and there may be an uncomfortable feeling running along the route of the vein treated. Pain and tenderness are only temporary sclerotherapy side effects, usually lasting no longer than one week.

Light brown streaks around the treatment area appear for about five to ten percent of patients. These tend to fade within two to twelve months, however. This is called transient hyperpigmentation, and it is a quite rare side effect of sclerotherapy treatment, but it does happen. But again, it is only temporary.

Sloughing is another rare sclerotherapy side effect occurring in less than three percent of those going through sclerotherapy. Sloughing is when there is a tiny ulceration occurring at the injection site and heals very slowly. Sometimes a blister forms, opens and then becomes ulcerated. After it has healed, a scar may remain similar to that of a vaccination scar or chicken pox scar.

Sclerotherapy Efficacy

The varicose vein being treated may not disappear. Sclerotherapy treatment usually has good results, but there is never a 100% guarantee for any cosmetic procedure. Often patients will need several treatments in order to have the veins fade to their satisfaction and still about ten percent of those treated will have very poor results, meaning the veins will remain or sometimes even worsen. In some cases patients have also reported the increase of new blood vessels, called matting, after treatment. This can also reflect the skill of the surgeon. With a highly experienced doctor who has performed sclerotherapy treatment many times on lots of different women, the risk of any negative sclerotherapy side effects is much lower than with a less experienced doctor.

Other Sclerotherapy Side Effects

A temporary swelling of the treated vein can sometimes cause the patient’s ankle to swell which can usually be alleviated by wearing support stockings. Post phlebitis syndrome occurs in only around one out of a thousand patients. This is when a blood clot occurs in the vein, destroying the valves and causing the vein to become large and flabby. The end result is a constantly swollen leg with pain, dryness, itchiness and eventual ulceration. Again, this is extremely rare, occurring in only about 1 out of 1000 patients.

Some patients may suffer an allergic reaction or severe inflammation as side effects of sclerotherapy treatment. The best way to prevent this is for the patient to inform the surgeons of any possible allergies prior to treatment. This would allow the professional to decide on the best possible solution to use to prevent an allergic reaction.

Since this treatment does not involve the circulatory system, side effects of sclerotherapy are rarely serious. After surgery, the treated area is wrapped to cause compression of the treated area. The patient is informed that he or she should not sit or lay for long periods of time after this treatment; instead they should walk as much as possible to prevent blood clots. If a blood clot did form and worked its way to the brain or heart, this could potentially be a fatal complication.


The injection techniques used during this treatment can often make the difference between complications occurring or good results. Do your research before having this or any medical procedure especially if it is simply for a cosmetic reason. If the procedure is not for a life threatening issue be certain you will be willing to live with the results or lack of results of the treatment. However, in over 99% of cases, sclerotherapy side effects are temporary and quite tolerable.

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