How to Repair Bulging Varicose Veins After Sclerotherapy?

I am devastated. I am wondering how I can repair damage I believe to be caused by Sclerotherapy. I had nice legs except for a small amount of spider veins seven months ago. I am thin and very active. After injections into reticular thigh veins I have developed bulging varicose veins and severe cellulite where I got the thigh injections. It took years to develop the few spiders and they came on very gradual now my legs are covered and this is just seven months later. Is there any help for this?

Doctor Answers 6

Larger Veins after Sclerotherapy

It is possible that you had an abnormal reaction to the sclerotherapy or that there was underlying venous insufficiency in your leg that was not diagnosed prior to you undergoing your treatments. I would recommend that you see a Vein Specialist (vascular surgeon) to get a venous reflux ultrasound of the leg to identify any underlying venous disorder.  Depending on the results of this study, you could be offered some other treatment options including possible use of laser or radiofrequency energy to treat the larger vein problem or even phlebectomy.  If is was a complication from the sclerotherapy (neovascularization or an aggressive type of matting), I would avoid any further sclerotherapy.

Austin Vascular Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Cellulite after Sclerotherapy ? No way - Buffalo Niagara, NY

I read your post and I have never seen that happen and have never seen it presented as a side effect or complication following sclerotherapy ! 

A literature search on PubMed (on January 22, 2015), which is a database of 23 MILLION scientific publications, shows '0 results' when a search was made for 'sclerotherapy and cellulite'. 

It is a pure and unfortunate coincidence that you have developed cellulite in areas where you have had sclerotherapy.

More importantly, you should seek a certified vein specialist to have your lower extremities checked for venous insufficiency. 

Hratch Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Buffalo Phlebologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 41 reviews

Need venous evaluation.

Think of your veins like a tree with both a trunk and branches.  The branches are the spider and reticular veins and the trunk is the saphenous vein which runs from the ankle to the groin.  This "trunk" has microscopic valves, and if these leak(reflux), then these need to be treated first. If the branches are first treated then the problem still exists in the trunk which continues to feed the branches and can cause further vein formation.  I would not expect cellulite to be a result of sclerotherapy.  You should have a full venous evaluation with a venous reflux sonogram and you should be evaluated by a vascular surgeon or vein specialist.

John Landi, MD
Naples General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Choosing between varicose vein and spider vein treatments

I would begin treatment of bulging varicose veins before treatment of smaller spider veins.  The choice of treatment depends on your condition and the presence of underlying venous reflux.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 94 reviews

Repairing bulging varicose veins requires finding the root cause

Bulging varicose veins are on the skin surface, but the deeper vein feeding the varicosities is usually much deeper and cannot be seen with the naked eye.  A duplex ultrasound will identify the deeper branch, typically the greater or lesser saphenous vein, and show "reflux"-- where the veins allow blood to flow backwards instead of forward, causing blood to flow down into the legs, causing swelling, aching, and more varicose and spider veins.

If you had sclerotherapy for reticular veins, it is quite possible that you have venous reflux which should be diagnosed appropriately, and hopefully the root cause treated with endovenous ablation (EVLT) of your saphenous veins and phlebectomies--the actually removal of the varicose veins.  This will lead to long term treatment and much improved symptoms and appearance to your legs!

Charles K. Lee, MD, FACS
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 reviews

There is help for your vein problem

In order to correct the problem with your vein the problem must first be diagnosed. I would seek the care of a vein specialist. Phlebology (the diagnosis and treatment of veins) is one of the most rapidly growing areas of medicine and is comprised of physicians in many different specialties. I would see someone who has a duplex ultrasound to exam your leg and the veins visable as well as those deeper under the skin.

Sclerotherapy of superficial spider veins should not cause varicose veins so it might be a coincidence that the varicose vein came after your treatment. Your varicose vein may be amenable to treatment with Foam Sclerotherapy or a procedure known as ambulatory phlebectomy (AP). AP is a procedure performed in the office with local anesthesia. A tiny incision is made in the skin and a small hook is used to grab the vein. The vein is then removed through the small incision.

Good luck and there is definitely hope to get you the legs you want.

Jerome Potozkin, MD
Danville Dermatologic Surgeon
4.2 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.