Sclerotherapy is a proven injectable method of treating spider veins that has been used for decades. Advancements in the procedure have led to even more uses for sclerotherapy, particularly the introduction of foam sclerosing agents that now allow us to treat larger varicose veins with the same minimally-invasive treatment. At Vein Specialists of the Carolinas, we use a foam agent known as polidocanol endovenous microfoam. This mouthful of a name is actually a useful tool in the battle against varicose veins.

Polidocanol Explained

Polidocanol is a medication specifically used to treat spider and varicose veins. When it is delivered into a visible vein by injection, is irritates the vessel’s lining to seal the vein closed. The treated vein collapses and is reabsorbed by the body over time, while blood naturally redirects into healthy veins nearby.

When polidocanol is used in its liquid form, it is commonly referred to by its commercial name Asclera. This medication has been approved to treat uncomplicated spider and reticular veins in the lower leg. Polidocanol can also be used in foam agents, going by the commercial name Varithena. Varithena is approved to treat the great saphenous vein, as well as smaller veins that feed into this primary vein.

The Benefits of Foam

Foam sclerotherapy was developed much later than liquid sclerotherapy treatments; in fact, Varithena was not approved by the FDA until 2013. This thicker solution is better able to displace blood in larger vessels so that those veins can also be sealed closed. In addition, ultrasound imaging can be used first to locate the vein and then to track the foam solution as it goes into the vein to ensure the procedure is successful.

Foam sclerotherapy offers another non-surgical option to the elimination of large, painful varicose veins. In addition to getting rid of their unsightly appearance, this treatment can also relieve uncomfortable symptoms like aching, cramping and swelling of the lower extremity. The procedure involves little discomfort and most patients can return to regular activities as soon as treatment is over.

How the Procedure Works

Foam sclerotherapy is generally performed using a local anesthetic. A small catheter is threaded into the affected vein, which delivers the foam agent inside the vessel. As the foam is placed inside the vein, the catheter is slowly removed. An ultrasound transducer is used to monitor the foam as it goes into the vein, which is simply a handheld device placed on the skin to create images of the vein via soundwaves.

The procedure takes less than an hour to perform and very little discomfort. After the procedure, you will likely be given compression stockings to wear for a number of days. These special socks offer gradient pressure on the lower leg to encourage healthy blood flow and healing of the treatment area. You should be able to return to your regular activities right after treatment, although some patients decide to wait until the next day to jump back into their schedules.

Is Polidocanol Foam the Right Choice for You?

Polidocanol endovenous foam is a good option for treating varicose veins that are not good candidates for other treatments like laser therapy or radiofrequency ablation. This procedure effectively eradicates painful varicose veins without incisions, general anesthesia or a recovery process. Dr. Draughn at Vein Specialists of the Carolinas will assess your vein condition thoroughly prior to treatment to determine whether foam sclerotherapy is the right choice for you or another procedure might provide you with better results.

Don’t suffer with painful and embarrassing varicose veins any longer. Contact Vein Specialists of the Carolinas today at 704-861-2072 or 704-544-5245 to find out if polidocanol endovenous foam is the right option for you.

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