Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy (UGS)

This involves the injection of a fine foam into the varicose veins. The foam causes inflammation in the lining of the vein. Accurate and effective treatment needs to be guided with an ultrasound machine. This is called ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy (UGS).

Following treatment, the vein is compressed by bandaging the leg or wearing tight stockings. The inflammation causes the walls of the varicose vein to stick together. If this is successful, the varicose vein will not be visible.

Sometimes the vein is still visible after treatment and feels hard under the skin, like a cord. If this happens the vein will slowly disappear over the next few weeks.

What happens during Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy?

This treatment is done as an outpatient using a small needle that causes little discomfort. Each treated area will be covered with a pad, and a support stocking or a bandage will be applied to the leg.

This puts some pressure on the veins that have been injected until the walls of the vein have ‘glued’ or stuck together.

You should walk for about 20 minutes after having your treatment. The stocking or bandage must be worn continuously for 1 week. After this, you can take the stocking off at night but wear it during the day for the rest of the following week. Remain as active as you can. Try to avoid standing still for long periods.

There are no restrictions on your activities and you can return to work immediately after the treatment. It is reasonable to pursue most sports but avoid very strenuous activities.

Sometimes more than one session of Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy might be needed to get a satisfactory result.

Sometimes more than one session of Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy might be needed to get a satisfactory result.

The chemical substance that is placed into the vein can cause inflammation resulting in redness and discomfort. This will settle but if it is troublesome anti-inflammatory drugs or paracetamol will help.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a possible consequence of injecting the varicose veins. DVT is rare but can be serious. Occasionally, (less than 5% of patients) after treatment a brown staining of the skin in the areas where the veins were may occur. Although the brown staining usually fades over 6-12 months it can be permanent.

It is also possible that a small ulcer or area of inflammation may develop at the site where treatment occured. Although this will heal it takes time and may leave a small scar. Very rarely, blushes of tiny veins can appear in the skin over areas that have been injected. This is sometimes called “matting” and can also occur after surgery for varicose veins. Other very rare complications of sclerotherapy that have been described include allergic reaction, migraine, visual disturbance, chest tightness, myocardial infarction, seizure and stroke.

Any treatment for varicose veins has a risk of varicose veins recurring.

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