Can Sclerotherapy cause blood clots?
Sclerotherapy is one of the most widely used treatments for varicose veins and spider veins, with roots tracing back almost a century. It’s also one of the safest treatments, and side effects from sclerotherapy treatment are extremely rare. Still, fears about the vein treatment exist, and one of the most common worries is whether or not sclerotherapy can cause dangerous blood clots which, in turn, can result in serious medical complications. If you’re planning to have sclerotherapy, here’s what you should know.
Sclerotherapy and Blood Clots
First, it’s helpful to know the difference between a “true” blood clot and blood that clots as part of the healing process. Following sclerotherapy, many men and women notice a “lump” or swelling in the treatment area. It’s these lumps that often cause concerns about dangerous clots. While these lumps may contain tiny clots of blood that form during the initial healing stages, they’re trapped by surrounding tissue and pose no danger. In fact, they’re a normal part of healing. If you’ve ever had a particularly bad bruise, you may have experienced a similar hard “knot” that eventually disappears as healing progresses. These clotted areas are also called hematomas.
True blood clots form inside open blood vessels, and they’re referred to medically as thrombi (or thrombus, for a single clot). When a thrombus forms inside a vein, it has the potential to break free and travel to your lungs or elsewhere in your body, preventing normal blood flow. These “true” clots can be very dangerous. But the good news is, they’re rare – extremely rare – following sclerotherapy.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
In very rare instances, a clot may form in a deep vein of the leg – often the calf. This condition is called deep vein thrombosis or DVT. Symptoms of DVT include pain, swelling and sometimes redness in a specific area of the calf. Sometimes, the area may feel extra warm to the touch. DVTs require treatment to prevent the clot from dislodging and traveling to the lungs, brain or other areas of the body, and to prevent venous hypertension, a condition that can occur if the clot causes the valves inside the deep leg veins to become damaged.
Even if a clot does form in a deeper leg vein, it may not cause subsequent problems. Often, these clots are observed using ultrasound to ensure they don’t grow or show signs of breaking off. In other cases, they may be managed with blood-thinning medications. Although still very rare, deep clots are more common among people with a personal or family history of “thrombophilia,” a condition that causes the blood to clot or “coagulate” abnormally. If you or a family member has thrombophilia, it’s very important to let the doctor know prior to sclerotherapy treatment. In some cases, medication may be given prior to treatment to reduce the risk of clot formation.
Improve your vein health.
The risk of clots following sclerotherapy is extremely rare, but it’s still important to understand that risk prior to vein treatment. As a top vein clinic in Mesa, AZ, Tri-City Vein Center uses the most advanced testing and treatment methods for optimal results and minimal risks. If you have varicose veins or spider veins, call Tri-City Vein Center at 480-835-6100 or use our online contact form to request an appointment today.
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