Foam Sclerotherapy or Sclerotherapy; Which is for You?

Updated on: August 18, 2014

Spider veins or varicose veins may be troubling for individuals suffering from the in the Dumfries, Virginia area. They may appear unsightly in many cases, leading some patients to feel embarrassed or self-conscious. Meanwhile, varicose veins may feel painful or may cause heaviness in the legs, making treatment all the more important. Insurance companies may cover the cost of treatment if it is used to treat problematic varicose veins, but when used as a cosmetic treatment for spider veins insurance may not cover the cost of treatment. This is something that patients should discuss with their vein doctor.

Foam sclerotherapy and sclerotherapy are procedures that have been used to provide relief from spider veins and small varicose veins, and patients should seek consultation with a specialist in their area to help them determine which may be right for them. Sclerotherapy uses a liquid formulation that irritates the vessel lining, causing the vein to shrink and disappear entirely. Foam sclerotherapy works in the same manner, but uses a foam formulation with a consistency similar to shaving cream. This allows for greater displacement of blood in the vein for greater contact with the vessel lining, and is easier to view on ultrasound.

There may be a risk of microembolisms with foam sclerotherapy. These are tiny blood clots in the treatment area. These treatments may also lead to other side effects such as itching or burning, although these typically fade quickly. Rare side effects may include allergic reactions, infection in the treatment area and complications associated with poor injection technique. For this reason, it is important that patients seek treatment from a well-trained vein specialist in the Dumfries area.

Most patients are able to resume normal activities immediately following treatment with sclerotherapy or foam sclerotherapy, which can be considered a major advantage of this procedure compared to others. Patients may be asked to avoid strenuous activities following treatment, however, and wearing compression stockings for a few days after the procedure may be encouraged. It is important that patients follow any recovery guidelines given to them by their vein specialist to help ensure proper healing and efficient circulation.

The treatment area is cleaned before treatment, and a topical anesthetic may be used for patient comfort. The specialist will then inject the chemical sclerant, which acts by irritating the vessel lining, causing the vein wall to shrink and collapse. This leads to the closure of the problem veins and allows other veins in the area to take over blood flow for the treated veins.

Patients should speak with a specialist to determine their candidacy for treatment, although most individuals are considered candidates if they have spider veins or small varicose veins. Those with skin infections, uncontrolled diabetes, a history of deep vein thrombosis and those who are on anticoagulants or corticosteroids may not be considered candidates. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are not considered candidates for these treatments, either. What's more, those with cardiovascular or blood disorders may not be considered good candidates.

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