Sclerotherapy is a minimally-invasive procedure used to treat less severe conditions associated with venous disease. A nurse will administer liquid sclerotherapy for spider veins (telengiectasias), reticular veins, and varicose veins that are determined to be cosmetic.
In cases with larger veins or where treatment is determined to be medically necessary, the doctor will administer foam sclerotherapy. Ultrasound can be used to help guide the needle and monitor the path of the injected foam.
Sclerotherapy uses a needle to inject a chemical agent, or sclerosant, into a diseased vein. The sclerosant irritates the vein, causing damage to the vein wall and ultimately closure.
With foam sclerotherapy, the liquid chemical agent is prepared as a foam. This process expands the volume of the sclerosant, resulting in greater surface contact with the vein wall and more uniform vein closure.
After closure, blood that had been pooling in the vein and unable to return to the heart prior to the procedure (venous reflux) re-routes its course through other veins that are healthy. Over time, the closed vein is absorbed naturally by surrounding tissues.
Typically, compression stockings are prescribed following foam sclerotherapy treatment. The stockings should be worn continuously for a period of 48 hours after treatment, followed by a two-week period when they need only be worn during the day.
During this two-week period, patients should avoid strenuous exercise and ensure that treated areas are not exposed to the sun.
Normally, patients notice improvement in symptoms and appearance anywhere from three weeks to three months following foam slerotherapy treatment.
With foam and liquid sclerotherapy, multiple treatments may be necessary for optimum results. Liquid Sclerotherapy treatments are usually spaced six weeks apart and foam sclerotherapy sessions may be repeated in as little as one week.
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