Foam Sclerotherapy to Treat Varicose Veins
You may remember reading about “sclerotherapy” in our Spider Veins pages. Sclerotherapy is the science of using injections to cure varicose veins. The procedure has been practiced for 100+ years, so it’s both effective and proven.
Sclerotherapy Versus Foam Sclerotherapy
Foam sclerotherapy is basically sclerotherapy, but with a twist: Here, a foam or froth injection is used in place of a liquid injection. By mixing a well-known sclerosant with a gas (usually air) then injecting the “foam” into the vein, it was discovered that very small (and very safe) bubbles in the foam would displace the blood in the vein, creating a greater surface area for action. The injected vein eventually collapses and is reabsorbed into the body over time. A healthy vein takes over the varicose vein’s duties. The benefits:
- Avoids the need to surgically remove varicose veins
- No need for general anesthesia – local is fine
- Ultrasound imaging ensures precise positioning of the needle
- A large area can be treated in a single session – typically ½ hour
- A firm bandage is worn for up to two weeks, plus an elastic compression stocking for one week
- When the bandages are removed, it is usual to find that all varicose veins are gone
Renewed Interest in Foam Sclerotherapy
Over the past few decades, the use of foam injections has spread in France, Spain, Italy, and Germany. And it’s enthusiastically being adopted in the United States, several European countries, South America, Australia, and New Zealand.
Is Foam Sclerotherapy Right for You?
Most patients with small- or moderate-size varicose veins can be treated in this way. Those patients with very extensive, large varicose veins are usually best treated surgically to obtain a more rapid result. And some patients with large veins lying close to the skin are better treated surgically since brown discoloration of the skin over the treated vein may occur. Let your Southeastern Vascular doctor determine what’s best for you.