Foam sclerotherapy refers to a minimally invasive technique to remove unattractive spider and varicose veins.
The procedure involves the injection of a foam sclerosant in a blood vessel close to the vein. The blood redirects itself via healthy veins to restore healthier blood flow.
In general, the patient will not receive insurance coverage for cosmetic procedures. Medically necessary treatments are usually eligible for insurance coverage. Foam sclerotherapy may be eligible for coverage as well unless is considered a cosmetic procedure.
Texas Surgical Dermatology, led by judicious board certified dermatologists Dr. Tri H. Nguyen and Dr. George G. Hughes III, provides vein treatments to patients in Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and other cities and suburbs in this stellar part of America.
What is the Foam Sclerotherapy Procedure?
The foam sclerotherapy is undertaken in our office in a session ranging between 30 to 40 minutes. The doctor will inject tiny amounts of a sclerosing (ablating or sealing) agent into the vein using a fine needle. The number of veins that require treatment will determine the number of sessions. In general, the patient will need more than a single session.
The procedure involves mixing air with the sclerosing agent. In this procedure, Polidocanol (Asclera) or sodium tetradecyl sulfate, called “STS” (Sotradecol) is used. This solution has the consistency of shaving cream, and it is visible through ultrasound. The solution can be tracked easily and guided to the source of the damaged vein.
When injected into the vein, the sclerosing foam becomes less diluted than liquid enabling the solution to come into contact with the complete vein wall. Consequently, a less amount of solution can help attain the finest results. The compromised vein shrinks or “scleroses” due to the medicine.
The problematic veins close allowing the blood to redirect itself to other healthier veins.
Difference between Sclerotherapy and Foam Sclerotherapy
The ‘sclerosing’ agent known as sodium tetradecyl sulfate (STS) is used for both procedures. In “sclerotherapy,” the doctor injects the solution in its liquid form. This is commonly used in cosmetic treatments. In foam sclerotherapy, air is combined with the sclerosing agent to accomplish a consistency similar to shaving cream.
This is more effective in treating longer and more substantial veins. A patient is more likely to receive insurance coverage for the foam procedure. RIA Endovascular can offer guidance on the vein therapy that is most suitable for the patient.
Candidates for Foam Sclerotherapy
An initial clinical assessment to determine whether foam sclerotherapy or another dermatology procedure is more suitable for the patient:
- History and physical examination
- Detailed evaluation of the legs
- Images of varicosities for our chart and insurance company
- Explanation of possible procedures
- Possibility an ultrasound of the legs
A leg ultrasound is known as Non-Invasive Vascular Assessment (NIVA). A sonographer performs the examination in around 30 to 45 minutes for each leg. An ultrasound is a diagnostic procedure which will likely receive insurance coverage unless it is only for cosmetic purposes.
The patient will subsequently undergo clinical assessment. They will meet a staff member and then their interventional radiologist who will review and explain the outcomes of their NIVA ultrasound, discuss treatment options, and prescribe compression socks, if necessary.
Foam sclerotherapy procedure is a relatively minor procedure that helps the legs appear and feel better. The treatment provider will help the patient wear a compression hose right after the procedure.
Cordial board certified dermatologists Dr. Nguyen and Dr. Hughes receive patients from Houston, Katy, Spring, The Woodlands, Texas, and other communities and neighborhoods in this region of the southwest for vein treatment.