Foam injection sclerotherapy is a technique which involves the mixing of liquid sclerosant and a gas (air or CO2) through a stopcock creating microbubbles resembling foam. The purported advantage of using foam sclerosant is that the foam is more effective in treating the large diameter reticular veins since liquid sclerosant may layer along the dependent wall of the treated veins. The foam creates more of a 3 dimensional sclerosant which more effectively contacts a larger percentage of the vein wall.
Although the veins appear to disappear more completely and immediately with foam than liquid sclerosant, blood will re-enter the veins within seconds and the same process of vein wall scarring and eventual reabsorption by the body will occur. One must consider the risks and benefits of each type of procedure and research the various options available to them. Patients can return to normal activity immediately after treatment and are encouraged to comply with the compression hose regimen to achieve the best results. Potential side effects of foam injection sclerotherapy include a few days of redness, swelling or mild discoloration (“matting”) of the skin, discoloration of the skin, and air embolism. Avoidance of direct sun exposure for two weeks following sclerotherapy is recommended.
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