What is foam sclerotherapy?

Foam sclerotherapy, also known as ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins.

Who is candidate for foam sclerotherapy?

Most patients who have been diagnosed with spider veins or smaller varicose veins are candidates for foam sclerotherapy. If you have a history of heart disease or are pregnant, you are not a candidate.

Because sclerotherapy is not covered by insurance, cost may be a factor as well. The cost of the procedure is between $200 and $500 per treatment. 

How does foam sclerotherapy work?

During a foam sclerotherapy procedure, a chemical solution that is mixed with gas to create a foam is injected into the vessel wall to cause it shrink and eventually collapse and disappear. An ultrasound is used during the procedure to determine if the solution spreads through the entire treatment area.

Treatment will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes, and some patients may need multiple injections to completely dissolve their varicose veins.

Benefits of foam sclerotherapy

Benefits of foam sclerotherapy include:

  • Minimal recovery and downtime required
  • Patients can return to work or other activities right after treatment
  • The chemical solution in foam form is easier to see on ultrasound to evaluate if the full treatment area has been treated

Risks of foam sclerotherapy

Foam sclerotherapy is generally a safe procedure to treat varicose veins. 

Minor side effects may include:

  • Bruising, raised red areas or small skin sores at injection site
  • Appearance of tiny red blood vessels

More serious complications associated with foam sclerotherapy include:

  • Inflammation in the injection site can occur
  • Pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis - blood clots may form in the lungs (pulmonary embolism) or in the legs (deep vein thrombosis)
  • Air bubbles - air bubbles can form and lead to headaches, fainting or nausea
  • Reaction to chemicals - some patients experience a reaction to the chemicals in the solution

Recovery from foam sclerotherapy

Most patients can return to work or their daily activities right after the procedure. Your doctor may advise you to wear compression stockings for a few days to help in the recovery process.

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