This is a new development of a long-established treatment for varicose veins. A small amount of a special chemical (Sclerosant) is mixed with air to make a foam (this is the new bit – although the chemical is approved to treat varicose veins it is not licensed in the UK for mixing with air to make a foam). Under ultrasound monitoring the foam is then injected into each vein and the leg is bandaged and placed in a full length stocking for a week. The foam causes inflammation in the vein which then shrivels up and eventually becomes less visible. Sometimes the inflammation can be uncomfortable for a few weeks, and occasionally the skin can blister and become scarred.
Injections are not a form of ‘invisible mending’, and cause some skin staining in more than a third of patients. This usually resolves within 12 months but can occasionally be permanent. Other complications which occur in about 5-10% of patients include allergic reactions, temporary visual disturbance, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and headache.