What is ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS)?
Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) is a technique that is used in the treatment of some venous conditions such as varicose veins
, venous eczema
, swollen ankles, thread veins
or leg ulcers
. As with all medical treatments, it is useful in some specific cases but not in others.
Despite some overenthusiastic press coverage, ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) is not a single treatment to cure all of the varicose veins
in the majority of people. This website will explain what ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) is, when it would be useful and when it would not be useful and will explain what position ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) has amongst the other treatments that are available to treat venous problems and varicose veins
To understand ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) we will first look at what each individual part of the name means:
Sclerotherapy comes from two Greek words:
• 'Sklerosis' - meaning to "make hard", and
• 'Therapeia' - meaning "service done to the sick"
In this instance, the sclerosis or "making hard" means the destruction of the vein which then becomes hard due to inflammation. Sclerotherapy is therefore the destruction of veins in people who have abnormal veins and are therefore "sick" in the broadest sense of the word.
Turning now to the rest of the phrase:
'Foam sclerotherapy' - sclerotherapy used to be only the injection of liquid but, as will be outlined below, in many instances making that liquid into a foam can be advantageous and more effective
'ultrasound guided' - veins can be seen easily on ultrasound as can a needle and foam. Therefore using ultrasound we can guide the needle and hence the foam into the target vein.
Thus ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) is the treatment of veins by injecting a sclerotherapy substance made into a foam into a target vein using ultrasound to guide the injection.
This website was last updated on 25/04/12. Content has been provided by Mr Mark Whiteley MS FRCS (Gen) FCPhleb. Mark Whiteley is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon from the UK