Venous sclerotherapy is a procedure used to treat venous malformations.
Venous malformations are made up of extra veins that have no use and cause problems.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure to inject a medicine into the veins, which irritates them encouraging them to scar to shrink.
The first few days
After sclerotherapy, your child may have a crepe bandage on the area treated. This may be quite tight. The aim of this is to keep the treated veins compressed so that they cannot refill with blood and become stretched or baggy again. Tight bandaging gives them a chance to shrink down following treatment.
Remember that sclerotherapy usually causes the treated area to swell. It will feel tight but usually not painful. Most children only need a dose or two of children’s pain medicine, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. Any swelling should start to go down within a week but the effects of the treatment, such as a decrease in pain or size, might not be obvious for several months.
After 48 hours or so, you can replace the bandage with your child’s usual compression garment. If the garment is still too tight due to the area being swollen, you should keep using the crepe bandage, keeping it as tight as possible, until the compression garment fits again. When you re-apply the bandage, start at the foot or hand and work towards the body. This will compress the treated veins but still allow blood flow to the limb.
Your child may have been given crutches or a sling to rest the limb. He or she should rest the limb for the first 48 hours where possible and practical.
For the first week after sclerotherapy, your child should keep the bandage or compression garment on all day and night. You can remove it briefly for baths and showers but make sure the water is not too hot as this will increase pain and swelling.
During the second week, your child can go back to the normal compression garment instructions given previously by the doctors in clinic. He or she can also go back to normal activities, such as swimming, dancing or outdoor games, that were allowed before treatment.
You should call the hospital if:
Your child is in pain and paracetamol or ibuprofen do not seem to help.
The skin over the treated area looks discoloured, inflamed or blistered, or if the skin breaks down into sore areas.
Your child feels 'pins and needles' in the treated area, the area feels numb or the muscles in the area treated do not seem to be working properly, either having spasms or feeling weak.
Last reviewed by Great Ormond Street Hospital: November 2011
Ref: 2011F0220 November 2011
Compiled by the Birthmark Unit and Interventional Radiology department in collaboration with the Child and Family Information Group
This information does not constitute health or medical advice and will not necessarily reflect treatment at other hospitals. If you have any questions, please ask your doctor. No liability can be taken as a result of using this information.