An endovenous chemical ablation (also called foam sclerotherapy) is a medically indicated procedure for diseased veins causing pain, swelling, and cramping of the legs. It is different from cosmetic sclerotherapy in a few ways as it is used to treat deeper and larger veins. The procedure involves injecting a foam detergent/sclerosant into the blood vessel to close it. The blood then is directed to health veins improving circulation. To see if your veins or legs are appropriate for this procedure, call us today or make an appointment online at the Golden Coast Dermatology, Skin Cancer and Vein Center.
What is an Endovenous Chemical Ablation?
Endovenous chemical ablation or foam sclerotherapy is a highly effective method of treating veins that have damaged valves causing circulation problems. The procedure is performed in an office setting during an approximately 30 minute appointment. Based on an initial consultation and mapping of the veins, a treatment plan is made using a variety of methods including endovenous chemical ablations, ambulatory phlebectomy, and endovenous radiofrequency ablation. This treatment is ideal for medium-size veins that are not appropriate for endovenous Radiofrequency ablation.
Small amounts of a detergent or closing agent are prepared for the vein. We often use Polidocanol (Varithena) for this. It is made into a foam by mixing the solution with air. The resulting foam solution has the consistency of shaving cream.
The vein with reflux issues causing the venous insufficiency is identified under ultrasound examination. The foam sclerotherapy is then carefully injected into the diseased vein. With the ultrasound, we are able to carefully observe the foam and ensure it is accurately and precisely placed. After the injection, we help you put on compression socks. You are then able to immediately resume normal activities, walk around the area, or return to work.
When the problematic vein closes, the body redirects blood to healthy veins often deeper in the leg. Thereby circulation is restored and the symptoms and appearance of the legs is returned to a healthy condition.
Is sclerotherapy a cosmetic treatment?
Often it is not. Sclerotherapy and other sclerosing agents can be used for unattractive, small spider veins at the surface of the legs. However, in those with symptoms such as pain, swelling or cramping a special mixture of these agents known as foam sclerotherapy can be helpful. Foam sclerotherapy or endovenous chemical ablation, can help treat medium-size vessels that are not candidates for endovenous laser ablations.
When deemed medically appropriate by symptoms and evidence of venous reflux, foam sclerotherapy is not considered a cosmetic treatment and thus covered by insurances.
What's the difference between cosmetic vs foam sclerotherapy?
Both procedures use a similar sclerosing agent. We often use Polidocanol (Also called Varithena or Asclera). Traditional cosmetic sclerotherapy uses these agents in a liquid form. When treating larger, medically necessary, and symptomatic veins these agents are mixed with air. This results in a foaming sclerotherapy that has the consistency of shaving cream.
Symptoms that may make foam sclerotherapy/ endovenous chemical ablation medically necessary include:
We are able to help. We can perform the necessary physical exams and painless imaging study with an ultrasound device to determine if your venous disease treatments are medically necessary and covered by your insurance.
What will it feel like to have these veins treated?
Generally, there is very little pain. A small needle is inserted into the vein which is uncomfortable for some. When foam sclerotherapy is injected most do not feel anything. Some may feel a slight warm or itching sensation but that is rare. And resolves after a few minutes.
The procedure is relatively minor and highly effective. It is a large step to making your legs look and feel better.
Why should I get these veins treated at Golden Coast Dermatology, Skin Cancer, and Vein Center?
Call us today or make an appointment online to get your legs health and appearance back.