Comparative study of duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy and duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy for the treatment of superficial venous insufficiency

Dermatol Surg. 2004 May;30(5):718-22; discussion 722. doi: 10.1111/j.1524-4725.2004.30202.x.


Purpose: To compare the preliminary results of hemodynamic changes between duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy and duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy.

Methods: Seventy Seven limbs in 77 patients with isolated greater saphenous vein incompetence were treated with duplex-guided sclerotherapy. Thirty Seven limbs were treated with duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy and the remaining 40 limbs were treated with duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy. Pretreatment exam was performed using a color duplex scanner and air plethysmography. The sclerosing foam was produced by Tessari's method using 1% and 3% polidocanol. The varicose vein was injected with 2 mL of 1% polidocanol or 1% polidocanol foam, and then 1 mL of 3% polidocanol or 3% polidocanol foam was injected into the greater saphenous vein under duplex guidance. Venous obstruction and recanalization were screened by serial posttreatment duplex examination, and posttreatment air plethysmography analysis was performed 3, 6, 9, and 12 months after the sclerotherapy.

Results: Duplex scanning demonstrated complete occlusion in the greater saphenous vein for duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy in 25 limbs (67.6%), which was a significantly higher proportion than for the duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy (7 limbs, 17.5%, p<0.0001). Recurrent varicose veins were found in 3 patient (8.1%) in the duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy group and 10 (25%) in the duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy group at 1-year (p=0.048). In duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy, venous filling index values remained normal during the subsequent follow-up examinations, whereas in duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy, venous filling index began to increase, and there was a significant difference at 6 months between duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy and the duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy (p<0.0005). At 9 months, there was a significant difference in the residual venous fraction between the two groups, and the residual venous fraction value continued to improve in duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy (p=0.033).

Conclusions: Duplex-guided foam sclerotherapy could have greater promise compared to duplex-guided liquid sclerotherapy in the treatment of superficial venous insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Dosage Forms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plethysmography
  • Saphenous Vein
  • Sclerosing Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*
  • Venous Insufficiency / therapy*


  • Dosage Forms
  • Sclerosing Solutions