For a long time the only treatment for large varicose veins was to have them surgically stripped. This requires a general anaesthetic (with its associated risks) and often a prolonged painful recovery. Furthermore, the recurrence rates following surgery are significant, (at least 30% recurrence within 5 years in some reported studies), requiring further surgery. Smaller veins are not always suitable for surgical stripping (they are too small) and often require sclerotherapy treatment to get a more complete result.
Sclerotherapy is an internationally recognised treatment and involves the injection of special solutions to irritate the inside of the vein wall and turn the soft hollow vein into a solid fibrous cord. Blood no longer passes through the treated vein but this doesn’t matter as blood can return to the heart via the deeper veins .
The same ultrasound machine that is used to map the veins is used to guide the insertion of a fine needle into the affected varicose vein so a small dose is used to treat a large section of vein with great accuracy and safety.
Once injected, the treated vessel will be gradually absorbed by the body and will disappear with time. A number of injections will be required along the length of the vein to achieve complete closure. Another significant benefit of this procedure is that it allows the Phlebologist to monitor the effect of each injection, while ensuring the safety of all adjacent structures, such as arteries and nerves in the leg.
At Fraser Clinic we utilise the latest methods for non-surgical treatments for varicose veins. Since 2001, inline with international trends, we have used a special foam in order to treat varicose veins. We use the standard sclerosant medication but mix it into foam before injecting it. This technique was pioneered by an Italian Phlebologist call Tessari.
Foam is much more easily tracked on ultrasound, allows smaller doses to be used and is much more efficient at closing varicose veins .
The treatment takes up to half an hour to complete, and we usually see our patients at one week and then at six weeks for routine follow up.
It is necessary to wear grade 2 surgical compression stockings for 2 weeks following the procedure; the first week-day and night and the second week during the daytime only.