Foam Sclerotherapy



What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins occur when the one-way valves in the veins in the leg fail to allow blood under pressure to flow the wrong way. The veins are not designed to cope with this increased pressure so they enlarge and become prominent and more visible. Who gets varicose veins?
Venous disease is largely inherited. It affects men and women equally but starts earlier in women often beginning in pregnancy. It is not caused by standing for long periods but the symptoms may be increased. They are not related to weight, blood pressure or smoking, nor are they caused by crossing the legs.

What is Foam Sclerotherapy?

Injections to close off the veins have been used to treat varicose veins for decades but poor long-term results meant that the technique fell out of favor. We now know that if the fluid is mixed with a gas such as air to form a foam the results of treatment are much improved. It is performed as an out-patient procedure so avoiding the inconvenience, discomfort, and expense of an admission to hospital. It is painless and you can drive home and return to normal activities immediately afterward.

How is Foam Sclerotherapy performed?

The cause of the varicose veins is identified by ultrasound examination. A cannula is inserted into the main vein and a small volume of foam injected. This may need to be done at three or four sites to completely fill the veins. The foam damages the lining of the vein wall. A firm stocking keeps the vein compressed while the walls stick to each other so closing the vein. The stocking must be worn continuously for at least a week.

What happens afterwards?

You will be able to drive home or back to work immediately. Painkillers are almost always unnecessary. The leg will be bandaged and a stocking applied. You will be asked to return for a follow-up appointment when an ultrasound will be repeated to assess your progress. Further ultrasound checks are made at intervals to ensure that the vein remains closed.

Are there any complications?

No procedure is complication free but they are less than with surgery. In particular, bruising is less and Foam Sclerotherapy is virtually pain-free so you can return to normal activities immediately. A light copper colored skin staining over the treated vein can occur in up to 40% of legs which will fade over the year but may be permanent.

Is Sclerotherapy safe?

Yes. The solution has been used for years and as a foam, only a very small amount is needed.

What are the alternatives?

A conventional surgery or Endovenous Laser therapy are also effective methods of treating incompetence of the main vein. However, both these techniques are more invasive and have complications although they are usually minor.

Will the veins come back?

With surgery, recurrence can occur in about 10% of legs over 5 years. Foam Sclerotherapy is likely to be about the same.

Is Foam Sclerotherapy successful?

This treatment is not suitable in all cases, especially very large veins. It is particularly appropriate for recurrent veins that have been treated before. The vein is closed off in more than 90% of people. If not, the injections are repeated. After six months the vein remains closed in over three-quarters of legs.

Patient Reviews

Find Out Why Our Patients Love Us


    Sign up for our newsletter!