What Does Foam Sclerotherapy Do to Spider Veins?

Updated on: August 18, 2014

For individuals in Santa Barbara, California as well as in other parts of the country, spider veins and varicose veins may be very troubling. Both conditions may lead patients to feel embarrassed or self-conscious because of the unsightly appearance of the veins, while those with varicose veins may feel pain and heaviness in the legs as a result. The good news is that there are several minimally-invasive treatment options designed to provide relief from these conditions. Foam sclerotherapy is one such treatment option, which may be used to treat those with spider veins or small varicose veins.

It's important to discuss one's candidacy for foam sclerotherapy or any other vein treatment available to make sure that they are a good candidate to receive treatment and that it is safe to do so. Most men and women with spider veins or small varicose veins who wish to rid themselves of these often-troubling venous conditions may be considered candidates for this procedure. However, those with certain blood or cardiovascular disorders may not be considered good candidates for treatment. What's more, women who are pregnant should not undergo foam sclerotherapy.

Foam sclerotherapy works by irritating the vessel lining of the vein so that it collapses, shrinks and is unable to carry blood. A foam formulation of a chemical sclerant is used instead of the liquid formulation that is used with traditional sclerotherapy. The foam formulation may offer greater contact with the vessel lining, as it is more effective in displacing blood within the vein. What's more, the foam formulation is easier to view using ultrasound technology. Patients should speak with a Santa Barbara vein specialist for more information about each treatment and to help them determine which may be most appropriate for their case.

Before the procedure begins, the patient will receive a topical anesthetic to the treatment area to ensure their comfort throughout the treatment. The specialist then injects the treatment area with the sclerosing foam, and ultrasound is used to ensure that it is properly placed and that it spreads effectively in the treatment area. More than one injection may be required depending on how large the treatment area is. The treatment process typically takes about 30 to 45 minutes to complete, although this may vary. Those wishing for further details should consult a Santa Barbara vein specialist for more information.

After the procedure, there may be a very brief recovery period at the doctor's office before patients may return to normal activities or return to work right after treatment. If the veins in the legs are treated, patients may be encouraged to wear compression stockings for about a couple of days to help the healing process. Patients are typically pleased with the results after one session of foam sclerotherapy. They may notice improvement shortly after the procedure. However, some patients may require multiple treatment sessions to reach optimal results.

As with any treatment, there are certain risks of which patients should be aware when seeking treatment with foam sclerotherapy. There may be a higher risk of microembolisms with foam sclerotherapy, which are tiny blood clots that may form in the treatment area. Patients may also experience itching, redness and bruising, although this should go away on its own after a couple of days.

As foam sclerotherapy is generally considered a cosmetic procedure to treat spider veins, insurance may not cover the cost of treatment. However, when used to treat varicose veins, insurance may cover the cost of treatment. Patients should speak with a vein specialist and their insurance company for more information. Otherwise, each session of foam sclerotherapy may range in price from about $200 to $500.

Learn more about foam sclerotherapy in Santa Barbara, California.

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