Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is a procedure used to treat medium to large varicose veins. Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy represents a major advancement in vein treatment because the ultrasound technology enables doctors to visualize deep-seated dilated veins that are not visible in their entire length on the skin’s surface. This is best used as an adjunct to your primary ablation procedure to treat short segment, persistent veins, not as a primary treatment.
How It’s Done
During ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, duplex ultrasound technology is used to locate diseased veins that are hidden from view. Veins that cannot be seen with the ordinary eye can be visualized on an external monitor during ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. An experienced technician or treating surgeon maps out the veins to determine precisely which veins need injections and which veins are best left alone. Using hi-resolution duplex ultrasound, doctors can determine how many injections are required. The chemical sclerosant solution is injected directly into the vein under direct vision and irritates the lining of the vein, causing the vein to close and shrink. Eventually, the vein disappears altogether. It is largely a painless procedure, using a very small needle.
Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is particularly advantageous for those who have already undergone varicose vein surgery once and have recurring veins. Using ultrasound, the doctor can pinpoint the exact cause of the recurring veins. Treatment with ultrasound guided sclerotherapy helps to avert complications such as blood clots, leg ulcers, and dermatitis, in addition to relieving bothersome symptoms like aching, swelling, and tiredness. The success of treatment depends on how well backward flow points are controlled. It is also best for veins in areas that are too sensitive to laser or radio-frequency ablation, like the very low part of the leg close to the ankle.
Candidates for Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
You are a candidate for ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy if you are in good health and have unsightly spider veins or varicose veins that cause bothersome symptoms. Furthermore, you must have realistic expectations and not anticipate overnight results. In fact, the veins may look worse immediately following treatment. Most large veins look dark and lumpy after treatment, but these side effects usually fade within a week of treatment. Typically, it takes several months to see the final results of the procedures. Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is not a cure for vein problems. Although this procedure can permanently remove the veins that are treated, new veins cannot be prevented from appearing in the same area over time.
After the Procedure
Immediately after the procedure, patients are asked to wear compression stockings to keep the veins compressed and to prevent bruising. Normal daily activities can be resumed immediately, but high-impact aerobic exercise should be avoided for approximately 48 hours.
Side Effects of Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
As with any procedure, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy may cause side effects, but overall, the procedure is very safe. Complications are quite rare, but can include discoloration, bruising, and sensory nerve irritation, usually resulting in tingling that is temporary. To prevent complications from arising after the procedure, patients are encouraged to follow your doctor’s post-op recommendations as closely as possible.