Spider veins, varicose veins and other vein disorders affect millions of Americans. Whether for cosmetic or medical reasons, many people receive vein treatment with positive results. Some procedures are performed to dissolve veins, causing them to disappear. Other treatments can relieve symptoms such as pain, swelling or even bleeding caused by large, bulging veins. Some side effects of vein treatmentare rare, while others are more common.
Common side effects of laser vein treatments
Although minimally invasive, endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) — an effective treatment for varicose veins — can have instances of side effects. EVLA is an in-office procedure performed under local anesthesia. Potential side effects of EVLA include:
- Bruising and tenderness – After EVLA, you may have some discomfort, which is typically alleviated by wearing a compression stocking.
- A small chance of infection – Infection has been reported in less than one in 1,000 cases, and it can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
- Damage to the blood vessel – This includes bruising or bleeding at the puncture site and infection. However, extraordinary precautions are taken to mitigate these risks.
- Thermal (heat) damage to nerves – A few instances of this side effect have been recorded, but they are rare and usually go away in a short period of time.
- Thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the vein) – Not uncommon, this side effect may cause pain and redness to the treated area. Thrombophlebitis usually responds well to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Common side effects of sclerotherapy
Sclerotherapy is also an office-based treatment, but performed primarily for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. It involves injecting a solution directly into the vein, which causes the vein to close and eventually fade. Some temporary side effects, which may occur at the site of the injection, include:
- Raised red areas
- Small skin sores
- Darkened skin that appears as lines or spots
- The appearance of tiny red blood vessels
Less common side effects of sclerotherapy
Other complications of vein treatment using sclerotherapy occur far less often, but may require treatment. These include:
- Inflammation – You may need to take aspirin to reduce swelling.
- Blood clot – A lump of clotted blood in the treated vein may require drainage. A condition called deep vein thrombosis can cause pulmonary embolism (a rare complication of sclerotherapy). Seek immediate medical help if you have difficulty breathing, chest pain or dizziness, or if you cough up blood.
- Air bubbles – Tiny air bubbles may rise in your bloodstream and cause symptoms such as visual disturbances, headaches, fainting and nausea. These symptoms generally go away, but call your doctor if you experience problems with limb movement or sensation after the procedure.
Experienced, dedicated vein care in Chicago
At Chicago Vein Institute, we focus on one medical specialty: The diagnosis and treatment of vein diseases. Our team of vein specialists performs the latest, most effective treatments for varicose veins, spider veins and other vein-related disorders. We are led by Dr. Mensur O. Sunje, a board-certified phlebologist. Together, we are unfailingly committed to treating both cosmetic and medical vein issues with outstanding outcomes; performing more than 3,000 vein-related procedures each year.