Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy for the treatment of varicose veins

Br J Surg. 2006 Aug;93(8):969-74. doi: 10.1002/bjs.5423.


Background: The aim was to assess the early efficacy and complications of ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) in a cohort of patients with varicose veins.

Methods: Of 192 consecutive patients referred with varicose veins over 15 months, only 11 chose surgery; the rest underwent UGFS treatment. Polidocanol was foamed 1 : 3 with air. Under ultrasound control via butterfly or Seldinger cannulation, 1 per cent foam was injected into superficial veins and 3 per cent foam into saphenous trunks, up to a total volume of 14 ml. Outcome was defined as complete when occlusion of the saphenous trunk and/or over 85 per cent of the varicosities was achieved, and partial closure when less.

Results: In 163 legs, complete occlusion occurred after one intervention, a further 32 after a second, and one after a third (overall 91 per cent). Of the remainder, all other legs achieved partial occlusion after up to three interventions, apart from two legs with great saphenous vein (GSV) incompetence, which failed. All 23 legs with small saphenous veins had complete occlusion after one intervention compared with 64 of 97 legs with GSV incompetence (P < 0.010). Occlusion rates were also higher when the GSV was cannulated directly: 56 of 70 versus 8 of 27 (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: UGFS achieved early complete occlusion safely in over 90 per cent of legs with varicose veins.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polidocanol
  • Polyethylene Glycols / administration & dosage
  • Sclerosing Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Sclerotherapy / adverse effects
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional / methods*
  • Varicose Veins / therapy*


  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Polidocanol
  • Polyethylene Glycols