Treatment for Varicose Veins
Foam sclerotherapy, also known as microfoam sclerotherapy or ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy, removes dysfunctional veins without surgery. Foam sclerotherapy uses a special aerated detergent-like compound – sclerosant – that is a good contrast medium for ultrasound. A specially-trained physician and a vascular ultrasound assistant will administer the agent directly into your vein through a small needle. By viewing a monitor, they can see the foam as it flows into the veins and direct it into the targeted veins.
The foam briefly spreads the vein, replaces the blood and holds the solution in place against your vein walls. The solution irritates the vein lining and within a few minutes, causes it to collapse. The collapsed vein is eventually broken down by the body and vanishes over several weeks. Healthier vessels nearby absorb the blood flow of the collapsed veins.
A major advantage to foam over liquid sclerosants is that it increases contact between the sclerosant and the vessel. As a result, even the largest of varicose veins can be effectively treated.
Patients treated in this way must wear compression bandages for a while. They can drive home alone or with a companion. There is minimal limitation on activity, and no medications are needed to supplement the treatment.
The advantage of this treatment is that it is virtually painless and there is little down-time. You can return to work the same day. The disadvantage is that it usually takes more than one treatment session (an average of three) and several weeks for the veins to vanish.
When administered by an experienced physician, microfoam sclerotherapy carries minimal risks and is effective. Possible complications are similar to those of other venous procedures such as bruising and phlebitis (inflammation of the vein).
Your doctor will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure based on your clinical exam, ultrasound findings and past medical history. Although treatment can help existing varicose veins, it can't keep new varicose veins from forming.
Radiofrequency Ablation (VNUS Closure®)
The radiofrequency ablation technique is a minimally invasive alternative to surgery for the treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins. The procedure is done in the outpatient setting and takes less than an hour. Local anesthesia is done with multiple injections of a numbing agent along the leg. A tiny incision is made near your knee and a slender catheter is then inserted into the vein.
Electrodes inside the catheter are heated by laser or radio-frequency energy. The catheter delivers this heat to the vein wall, causing it to collapse and seal shut. After the vein is closed, the remaining healthy veins take over and continue their normal function.After the catheter is removed, compression bandages are applied to the leg. Most patients resume normal activity immediately.
Possible complications are similar to those of other venous procedures: numbness, bruising and phlebitis (inflammation of the vein).
You will return a few days later for an ultrasound exam to ensure complete closure of the treated veins. You may need to wear compression stockings for several days. This procedure is sometimes performed in combination with foam sclerotherapy treatment of remaining varicose vein branches.
Your doctor will determine if you are a good candidate for the procedure based on your clinical exam, ultrasound findings and past medical history. The radiofrequency procedures are not suitable for patients with pacemakers or internal defibrillators, or those who have aneurysms in sections of the varicose vein. Although treatment can help existing varicose veins, it can't keep new varicose veins from forming.