Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
Advanced varicose veins hidden beneath the skin are treated with a highly specialized procedure called Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy, or UGS).
Similar to microsclerotherapy, this procedure is safe and effective. A sclerosant solution is injected into the problem veins, guided by ultrasound. The solution causes the vein walls to collapse and the veins to dissolve and disappear as your body gradually absorbs them.
A detailed duplex ultrasound is done prior to the procedure in order to create a “virtual map” of the veins in the lower leg. This allows us to pinpoint the abnormal veins and surrounding structures such as arteries and deep veins. In addition, it helps to identify the underlying reason for your visible varicose veins.
Once this initial procedure has been performed, ultrasound guidance is used to accurately guide the injection into the hidden abnormal veins, while observing on a monitor. The injected vessel will collapse and gradually disappear as the body absorbs it over time. Multiple injections are typically required along the vein’s length to achieve complete closure.
By viewing the monitor, we can watch the effect of each injection, and ensure the safety of all surrounding structures.
As with any surgery, complications can occur, and may include the following:
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT). With this comes an increased risk of blood clots, however, compression and regular daily exercise can reduce risk. Stopping hormonal medications, such as oral contraceptives or HRT, will lower your chances of developing DVT as well.
- Allergic reaction. Although rare, an anaphylactic reaction can immediately occur with symptoms of a rash and difficulty breathing. If this does occur, it is treated right away with a cortisone or adrenaline injection. It may also require antihistamines. An allergic reaction is slightly more common in those with asthma. We ask that patients stay in the building for 10 minutes after treatment in case an allergic reaction does occur.
Although treatment usually takes just half an hour, you should plan on one full hour to allow sufficient time for the initial ultrasound, preparation, and discussion. Following the procedure, you will be fitted with compression stockings and asked to walk for 30-40 minutes to promote blood flow into deeper veins.
A follow-up appointment should be made a week after your procedure to ensure your treatment has been successful and to address any residual varicose or spider veins using microsclerotherapy.