Foam Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

Foam sclerotherapy involves the injection of a foam substance directly into the vein. The foam injures the blood vessels and causes it to narrow. Blood will then flow to a better vein and the treated vein will disappear on its own.

Varicose veins are veins that are swollen and twisted. They are commonly found in the legs. Varicose veins occur when the small valves within the blood vessels or the muscles around the blood vessels malfunction. This can be caused by abnormalities of the veins or of the valves in the veins or due to certain conditions, such as post-thromobotic syndrome or Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome. Risk factors for varicose veins include pregnancy, excessive body weight, age, sex, standing for long periods, and/or injury to the blood vessels.


Varicose veins do not always need treatment. If your varicose veins are not causing you discomfort, you may not need to have treatment. Treatment of varicose veins is usually only necessary to ease symptoms if your varicose veins are causing you pain or discomfort. However, some patients may also want treatment for cosmetic reasons.

Please inform your doctor of all medication that you are taking as some may need to be stopped before the procedure. Please also let your doctor know if you have any allergies, especially to anesthesia or contrast materials/dye.

Anesthesia is not usually used during foam sclerotherapy as discomfort is minimal, but if the vein is quite large, the doctor may use a small amount of local anesthetic to make you comfortable. Ultrasound is used to visualize the affected vein. A needle is inserted into the vein and the foam is injected. The doctor will watch the progress of the foam into the blood vessel via ultrasound. Multiple injections may be needed to make sure the vein is completely filled. The procedure takes 20 to 30 minutes and a firm bandage will be applied to the leg to keep the veins compressed (so they are not filled with blood when you stand up).

The bandage will be worn for about a week, followed by a compression stocking for the next week. You can return to normal activities immediately.

  • Blood clots in other veins.
  • Inflammation.
  • Air bubbles.
  • Allergic reaction.
  • Skin discoloration.
  • At your follow-up appointment you will undergo a physical examination and your wound will be checked. You will receive documentation regarding your treatment history and a “fit to fly” certificate (if needed).
  • If you plan to travel after the procedure, please discuss this with your doctor before making travel arrangements.
  • There are no air travel restrictions with this procedure.
  • When traveling by air, please wear compression stockings to prevent thrombosis.

The success of the procedure depends on a patient’s condition. Please discuss the likelihood of success with your doctor before the procedure.

What if the procedure is not done?

Varicose veins are not health concerns, for the most part. If they do not cause discomfort, they do not need to be treated.

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