Foam sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat varicose veins. Varicose veins result from weakened valves which keep the veins from functioning properly and allow blood to pool in the legs. Varicose veins may be not only unattractive but medically problematic. During foam sclerotherapy, a sclerosant solution is injected into the affected veins, causing their eventual collapse. These damaged veins will be absorbed by the body and blood flow will naturally be rerouted through other, healthy veins.
The Foam Sclerotherapy Procedure
To ensure precision, foam sclerotherapy is performed with the aid of ultrasound imaging. The affected veins are injected with a foamed sclerosant solution, which causes the veins to eventually collapse and be absorbed into the bloodstream. This safe procedure can be performed outpatient, in the doctor's office and takes less than an hour to complete. Anesthesia is not needed for foam sclerotherapy. After the skin is cleaned with an antiseptic solution, the sclerosant is injected into the affected veins with a very fine needle. The number of injections per session varies based on the number and length of the damaged veins. After the sclerotherapy procedure, cotton balls and compression tape are applied to the injection site. Patients usually report only a mild burning sensation during the treatment.
Recovery from Foam Sclerotherapy
After foam sclerotherapy, most patients can immediately return work and regular activities the same day. Exercise and other strenuous activities, however, should be avoided for 7 to 10 days. Compression bandages may need to be worn for a week to 10 days after the procedure, and some patients may experience mild bruising and discoloration following sclerotherapy; but these side effects usually subside within a few days. The results of foam sclerotherapy are usually fully visible after 3 to 6 weeks. To preserve the results of sclerotherapy, patients should maintain an active, healthy lifestyle after the procedure.
Risks of Foam Sclerotherapy
While sclerotherapy is a safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with any procedure of this type. Rare complications may include: nerve damage, phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, infection or failure of the procedure. Most patients are very satisfied with the results of this treatment.