Sclerotherapy: Before Your Procedure

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What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a treatment to get rid of varicose veins and spider veins. A chemical called a sclerosant is injected into the vein. This causes the vein to close.

The procedure may cause some pain. The chemical may cause burning or cramping for a few minutes at the injection site.

The procedure may take about 15 to 60 minutes. It depends on how many veins are treated and how big they are. You should be able to walk on your own after the treatment.

How do you prepare for the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Plan to wear loose, comfortable clothes. You may want to bring shorts to wear during the procedure.
  • Don't use any lotion on your legs before the procedure.
  • You might want someone to drive you home after the procedure.
  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines, vitamins, supplements, and herbal remedies you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Make sure your doctor and the hospital have a copy of your advance directive. If you don't have one, you may want to prepare one. It lets others know your health care wishes. It's a good thing to have before any type of surgery or procedure.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotion to your legs.
  • Do not shave your legs.

At the doctor's office or clinic

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • The procedure may take about 15 to 60 minutes. How long it takes depends on how many veins are treated and how big they are.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.