Varicose veins are permanently dilated veins. These are predisposed to by hereditary factors, pregnancy, severe trauma to the legs, long periods of standing or even heat and tight girdles i.e. these are the effects of back pressure on the weak walls of the venous blood vessels.

Surgical procedures are used to remove the prominent thick venous channels. These procedures have no beneficial effect on the small threadlike red and blue superficial spider veins.

Sclerosant injection treatment destroys the incompetent vein in 1-4 months while blood circulation continues through the normal channels. Sclerosant injection treatment is undertaken from the thighs downwards and may result in a very temporary burning pain for the duration of each injection but this settles rapidly. The cosmetic appearance of the leg tends to be improved only from 3 to 4 weeks following treatment. Treatment sessions take from 15-60 minutes, depending on the area to be treated and normal activities can be resumed directly afterwards.

Side effects of the treatment include a burning sensation with the introduction of the sclerosing solution. This is not experienced by all patients but the sensation disappears almost as soon as the injection is discontinued. Minor bruising at the site of the injection can occur; it is not serious and will disappear in 3 to 4 weeks should it have occurred.

Tender red inflammation of the veins may occur occasionally. Very rarely, slight brown staining may occur in the line of the vein. This pigmentation can last for many months until it fades.

If bandaging has been recommended, pay attention to the frequency of the application. Wearing shoes with relatively low heels promotes the action of the venous pump in the calf to avoid recurrence of fresh veins. Tight belts and girdles should not be worn.


  • The first session of treatment includes an explanation of the sclerosant treatment, a general examination of your legs, followed by an actual treatment with a sclerosant solution.
  • The usual appointment time is 1 hour and the area covered in this time will depend on the extent of the veins requiring treatment. Usually a large area can be covered in an hour.
  • Treatments need to be at monthly intervals until clearance which could anything from 1 to 4 treatments.

Post Treatment

  • Do not shave your legs within two days prior to the sclerotherapy treatment;
  • Avoid very hot baths immediately before and after treatments for 3 days;
  • Do not sunbathe after treatment and use a good sunscreen with efficient sun blockers thereafter until bruising has gone (approximately 5 days).
  • Avoid aerobic exercises (cardio vascular) for 3 days after treatment.
  • Apply Arnica cream 1 to 2 times per day until bruising has disappeared.

Sclerosant Injection Therapy Nursing Sister

Sclerosant Injection Therapy is performed at the rooms of Dr Ian Webster by Sister Liz du Toit, an experienced nursing sister in the treatment of spider varicose veins using sclerosant injection therapy.

Sister Liz du Toit trained as a nursing sister and spent 10 years working in the Dermatology Department at Groote Schuur Hospital in the Phototherapy Daycare Clinic. During this time she trained at the Beth Israel Hospital, Boston, Massachussett, USA under Professor Jeff Dover and his sclerotherapy assistant, Diedre O”Hare in 1992.

Since 1993, Sister Liz du Toit has treated many patients in Cape Town and gained invaluable experience in treating patients with spider veins on the legs. An appointment can be made at the rooms of Dr Ian Webster: 021-852 5858 or 021 852 5859