What is foam sclerotherapy and why choose it?

Injection SCLEROTHERAPY is a mainstay of treatment for venous insufficiency. The procedure uses a fine needle to inject a medication, called a “sclerosant”, directly into the problem veins. The sclerosant destroys the inside lining of the veins called the “intima”. Without the intima, the vein collapses and will eventually disappear.

One challenge with sclerotherapy is that the blood-flow inside the vein being treated can carry the medication out of the vein very quickly; allowing only limited contact of the sclerosant with the vein wall. If the vein wall isn’t sufficiently exposed to the sclerosant, the treatment may not be effective.

The good news is today’s sclerosants have the consistency of soap, and like soap, become foamy when aerated. When a sclerosant is injected as foam, it can fill up the whole vein and also remain in the vein for a longer period of time, providing a longer and more uniform exposure of the vein wall to the sclerosant, with more consistent results.

We don’t treat spider veins with foamed sclerosants because they’re just too small. But we prefer to use foam for virtually all other sclerotherapy.

How is the foam created? Many physicians use room-air to mix with sclerosants. At Advanced Vascular Associates we use carbon dioxide only. Carbon dioxide is FDA-approved for injection, is far more soluble in blood, is free of particulates, and is completely sterile. We believe this greatly enhances the safety of foam injections.

The other advantage of using foam is that, unlike liquid sclerosants, it is visible with ultrasound. This makes it easy for the vein doctor to see what veins have been fully treated and which ones still need injection. Most of the time foam injections are done using ultrasound guidance. No surprise that we call this Ultrasound-Guided Foam Sclerotherapy.

Are there risks to foam injections? Well it’s not natural to have gas in our blood streams. On very rare occasions, foam has been reported to cause temporary visual disturbances, migraine headaches, or temporary neurological symptoms. This is more of a problem for patients with congenital holes in their hearts and those with a history of migraine headache with aura. But in my experience using carbon dioxide we have never observed any of these problems in thousands of treatments.

If you are experiencing bulging veins and are not sure what to do, you can arrange for a quick and easy consultation right now by calling 201-265-5300.

About us: There are 20 million Americans with vein problems that can seriously affect the quality of their lives. And as we age, they just get worse. As one of the few New Jersey medical practices committed exclusively to vein care, Advanced Vascular Vein Care is uniquely capable of alleviating those problems, whether they are medical or cosmetic. All treatments are non-surgical, usually covered by insurance, and delivered in an office setting. And we do it as it should be done – with compassion, excellence, affordability, convenience, and the personal touch. Call 201-265-5300 or visit AdvancedVascular.com for a quick and easy consultation.

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