Prospective randomised comparative study of visual foam sclerotherapy alone or in combination with ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy for treatment of superficial venous insufficiency: preliminary report

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2012 Mar;43(3):343-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2011.07.029. Epub 2012 Jan 9.


Objective: The aim of the study is to compare ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS: injection of foam sclerosant under ultrasound guidance) of the great saphenous vein (GSV) combined with visual foam sclerotherapy (VFS: injection of foam sclerosant under visual control) for varicose tributary veins and VFS alone in the treatment of GSV reflux.

Design and methods: A total of 133 limbs in 97 patients with GSV reflux were randomised to receive either VFS alone or VFS combined with UGFS. In both groups, 1% polidocanol foam was used. Assessments included duplex ultrasonography, evaluation of Venous Clinical Severity Scores (VCSS) and CEAP (clinical, etiologic, anatomic, and pathophysiologic) scores. Ultrasonographic inspection of the foam in the GSV was carried out during 5 min before compression was applied. The primary 'end' point of the study was obliteration of the GSV at 6 months.

Results: A total of 51 limbs in 48 patients were treated with UGFS + VFS and the remaining 52 limbs in 49 patients were treated with VFS alone. There were no significant inter-group differences in patient age, male: female ratio, height, weight, body mass index, CEAP clinical scores or VCSS. The GSV diameter was 6.0 ± 1.7 mm (median ± interquartile range) in the UGFS + VFS group and 5.7 ± 1.6 mm in the VFS group (p = 0.419). The mean injected volume of foam for varicose tributary veins was 4 ± 2 ml in the UGFS + VFS group and 6 ± 2 ml in the VFS group, a significantly higher amount of foam being used in the latter (p < 0.001). However, the mean total amount of foam was greater in limbs treated with UFGS + VFS than in those treated with VFS alone (p = 0.017). Ultrasonographic inspection revealed complete vasospasm of the GSV in 37 (72.5%) limbs in the UGFS + VFS group and 29 (55.8%) in the VFS group during sclerotherapy (p = 0.097). At 6-month follow-up, complete occlusion was found in 23 limbs (45.1%) treated with UGFS + VFS and in 22 limbs (42.3%) treated with VFS. The difference between the two groups was not significant (p = 0.775). Reflux was absent in 30 limbs (58.8%) treated with UGFS + VFS and in 37 (71.2%) treated with VFS (p = 0.190). There was no inter-group difference in post-treatment VCSS (p = 0.223).

Conclusions: These results show that UGFS + VFS and VFS are equally effective for the treatment of GSV reflux, despite the lower volume of foam used for VFS alone.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Preoperative Care / methods
  • Sclerosing Solutions / administration & dosage*
  • Sclerotherapy / adverse effects
  • Sclerotherapy / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging*
  • Varicose Veins / therapy*
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging*
  • Venous Insufficiency / therapy*


  • Sclerosing Solutions