Sclerotherapy (sklair-oh-THAIR-uh-pee) is a procedure to close blood vessels and
lymph vessels. Doctors do this by injecting a solution into the vessel. The solution
irritates the vessel's lining, making it collapse and stick together, sealing the
do sclerotherapy. They're doctors trained to use imaging (such as X-rays or ultrasound)
to diagnose and treat problems with the blood and lymph vessels.
What Does Sclerotherapy Treat?
Doctors use sclerotherapy to treat problems with blood vessels or lymph vessels
known as vascular anomalies.
Blood vessels are thin tubes that take blood cells, nutrients, and oxygen to the
tissues throughout the body. They also take waste and carbon dioxide away from the
Lymph vessels are vein-like structures that help carry
throughout the body. Lymph is a clear fluid that carries fats, helps fight
germs, and keeps the body's fluid levels normal.
Take X-rays and/or ultrasound images to find the vascular anomaly.
Guide the tip of a needle into the vessels to be treated.
Put the solution through the needle into the vessels.
Check blood flow to be sure sclerotherapy sealed the vessels.
Remove the needle.
Sometimes if a malformation is large, the doctor will leave a
in it to repeat treatment over the next few days.
What Happens After Sclerotherapy?
After sclerotherapy, kids go to the recovery area to rejoin their family. Most
can go home later the same day. A child may have pain and bruising where the vessels
were closed for a few days after the procedure.
Are There Any Risks From Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy usually is safe, but has some risks. Sometimes the vessel doesn't
close or the wrong vessel closes. A child also might have:
skin changes such as blistering or scarring over the area where the procedure
infection where the needle was put in
a slight increase in cancer risk because X-rays are used
The interventional radiologist will review all risks before the procedure.
How Can Parents Help?
Parents can help a child ready for sclerotherapy and recover after it:
Follow any instructions the interventional radiology team gives you.
Give your child pain medicine as needed and as prescribed.
Ask about any instructions that are not clear.
Take your child to all follow-up doctor visits.
During recovery, help your child to:
Rest and get good sleep.
Avoid strenuous activities.
Avoid soaking the catheter site in a bath or pool.