What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a medication is injected through a tiny needle into the affected spider vein or varicose vein. You may have had treatments in the past or know people who have been treated with hypertonic saline (strong salt water). Saline injections are typically painful, are associated with marginal results, and have a high rate of undesired effects. This medication causes the unhealthy veins to become irritated and inflamed forcing the blood out of them and into healthy veins. The treated veins will gradually scar closed and be re-absorbed by the body, fading from view. Sclerotherapy is the most effective treatment available for getting rid of spider veins.
Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy
Some veins that are treated with sclerotherapy are invisible to the naked eye and some are just too large to treat with a liquid medication. In these larger veins, the liquid would just mix with the blood rather than make contact with the vein wall. For these cases, we utilize our ultrasound to pinpoint these deeper veins needing treatment and perform foam sclerotherapy. Foam sclerotherapy uses the exact same medications as traditional sclerotherapy but the medicine is mixed with air to create foam. The foam then “pushes” the blood out of the vein and makes contact with the inner lining of the vein, irritating it. The advantages of using foam for larger veins include:
Foam is visible to the ultrasound, which allows us to precisely place our needle in the vein and watch as the medication actually treats your vein.
Using foam allows us to treat more veins than if we used liquid.
The use of foam is valuable for injecting larger veins that would be far too large to inject with liquid.