Transcatheter duplex ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy for treatment of greater saphenous vein reflux: preliminary report

Dermatol Surg. 2000 May;26(5):410-4; discussion 413-4. doi: 10.1046/j.1524-4725.2000.00001.x.


Background: Surgical ligation and stripping of the greater saphenous vein has been the gold standard for treatment of saphenofemoral junction incompetence for several years. Although sclerotherapy of the greater saphenous vein has also been advocated by some phlebologists, the procedure can be technically challenging and has resulted in inadvertent nontarget injection.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness and safety of transcatheter duplex-guided sclerotherapy for the treatment of varicose veins due to saphenofemoral junction reflux.

Methods: Fifty-one greater saphenous veins in 50 patients were treated with transcatheter sclerotherapy. Using local anesthesia and ultrasound guidance, the greater saphenous vein was entered 15-45 cm below the saphenofemoral junction. An infusion catheter was placed over a guidewire and positioned under ultrasound guidance, and 3% sodium tetradecyl sulfate was administered below the saphenofemoral junction and along the course of an "empty" greater saphenous vein via the catheter.

Results: Catheter placement and treatment was possible in all patients, with 2-5 ml of 3% sodium tetradecyl sulfate administered per session. At the 24-hour and 1-week follow-ups, all treated greater saphenous vein segments were closed following initial treatment, with no flow detectable by continuous wave or color Doppler interrogation. No patients required re-treatment, with all veins remaining closed at 2- to 12-months follow-up. There have been no adverse reactions.

Conclusion: Transcatheter duplex ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy should improve both the safety and efficacy of treatment compared to conventional ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy and offers an alternative to surgical ligation and stripping for those patients wishing to avoid surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Saphenous Vein* / diagnostic imaging
  • Sclerotherapy* / methods
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Varicose Veins / pathology
  • Varicose Veins / therapy*