The study, reported in the August issue of the British Journal of Surgery, suggests that ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy safely achieves complete occlusion in 91 percent of varicose-vein cases.
192 patients were referred for varicose vein treatment over a 15-month period. Eleven of these patients selected surgery, while the remainder opted for ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy. The latter treatment involved the use of polidocanol in a 1:3 mixture with air. Under ultrasound guidance, 1 percent foam was injected into superficial veins, while 3 percent was used for saphenous trunks.
Of the 220 legs treated with ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, 163 showed complete occlusion of varicosities after one treatment. With a second treatment, 32 additional legs achieved complete occlusion, and one more responded positively after a third treatment. According to the study the overall rate of complete occlusion was 91 percent.
The study goes on to say that the ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy was generally well tolerated and that there were no serious complications. The study noted that several patients did experience phlebitis and pigmentation, which could have cosmetic implications. They conclude that further research is needed.