Foam Sclerotherapy

At a Glance

  • Foam sclerotherapy uses an emulsion of the drugs used in conventional sclerotherapy
  • This method sees faster results across fewer treatment sessions
  • Foam sclerotherapy is very useful on larger varicosities for which conventional sclerotherapy may be ineffective
  • Risks and side effects are minimal when treated by an experienced vein care professional

The Procedure

Similar to conventional sclerotherapy, foam sclerotherapy works by injecting the diseased vein with a solution that promotes vein closure. Foam sclerotherapy uses an emulsion of the same drug used in conventional sclerotherapy, which appears to have a greater effect on the inner wall of treated veins. An emulsion is created by mixing air with the conventional chemical, resulting in a foam solution. The emulsion suffers less dilution from blood because it tends to displace blood instead of simply mixing with it. As a result, the drug has far better contact with the vessel wall surface.

Foam sclerotherapy provides better results and requires less drug concentration than conventional sclerotherapy. This method usually garners faster results across fewer treatment sessions.

What Conditions Does It Treat?

Foam sclerotherapy treats patients with medium to large varicose veins and spider veins. This procedure is highly effective on larger vessels, especially when used jointly with ultrasound guided injections. Traditional sclerotherapy is mostly ineffective on larger varicosities, but foam sclerotherapy displaces the blood, allowing for better contact between the drug and the vein walls.

Am I a Candidate?

Foam sclerotherapy is indicated for patients who want to treat varicose veins and spiders in fewer treatments than conventional sclerotherapy. Foam sclerotherapy can be used in conjunction with injections guided by ultrasound or Veinlite technologies. Guidance technologies can provide more accurate treatment of the diseased vein.


The minimally-invasive nature of foam sclerotherapy means that there will be virtually no downtime after your treatment. Patients can get up and walk around immediately after the procedure and can generally return to work the same day. Recovery includes similar post-procedural requirements to other sclerotherapy treatments, such as a short amount of elevation, wearing compression garments, and light exercise to promote healthy circulation. Blood clots will form in the treated vein, which may look like lumps under your skin surface. As they heal, some tenderness and discoloration may be present.

The results of treatment will not be immediately visible. In some cases, the treated vein may look darker and worse than before treatment. The darkness should fade within a week, and within several weeks, you will begin to see a positive outcome.

Potential Risks

When performed by an experienced vein care specialist, there are minimal complications associated with foam sclerotherapy. Risks include those associated with conventional sclerotherapy, which are discoloration of the vein under the skin, bruising or inflammation at the injection site, and allergic reactions from ingredients in the solution. Matting can also occur, which is a phenomenon where your body forms lots of tiny blood vessels around the injection site. Matting will usually resolve on its own, but sometimes requires additional injections to relieve.