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British study shows effectiveness of varicose-veins treatment

Bournemouth, England — A recent study suggests that ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy safely achieves complete occlusion in 91 percent of varicose-vein cases.

The study, reported in the August issue of the British Journal of Surgery, was conducted by researchers at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital here.

As reported in the Journal, 192 patients were referred for varicose vein treatment over a 15-month period. Eleven of these patients selected surgery, while the remainder opted for ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy. The latter treatment involved the use of polidocanol in a 1:3 mixture with air. Under ultrasound guidance, 1 percent foam was injected into superficial veins, while 3 percent was used for saphenous trunks.

Of the 220 legs treated with ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, 163 showed complete occlusion of varicosities after one treatment. With a second treatment, 32 additional legs achieved complete occlusion, and one more responded positively after a third treatment. Thus, according to the study, the overall rate of complete occlusion was 91 percent.

The study goes on to say that the ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy was generally well tolerated and that there were no serious complications. The study noted that several patients did experience phlebitis and pigmentation, which could have cosmetic implications.

The study’s authors noted that, while their findings are encouraging, “It remains uncertain whether these early results will translate into similarly satisfactory longer-term outcomes, even if further injections are necessary.” They conclude that further research is needed.

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