Information for patients who require Foam Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins

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1 Information for patients who require Foam Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins Why do I need treatment for varicose veins? Deep veins Everybody has 2 sets of veins in their legs. These are called the superficial veins and deep veins. This leaflet is about superficial veins. Superficial veins Superficial veins are near the surface of the skin. Veins are needed to carry the blood back to the heart. Normal Varicose There are valves inside the veins in your legs that help to stop the blood flowing backwards. If the valves stop working, the blood will stop flowing properly. Then the veins will become large and misshapen. These veins are called varicose veins. valves Varicose veins can make your legs ache and feel uncomfortable especially if you have to stand for a long time. Varicose veins can make the skin on your legs itchy and the skin can become a darker colour. Varicose veins can make some people develop an ulcer on their skin. Ulcer this is a split in the skin. An ulcer wound lasts longer than 6 weeks. An ulcer needs help to heal from a doctor or nurse. Page 1 of 11

2 What treatment will I have? You will have foam sclerotherapy treatment to help your varicose veins. The foam is made using a special liquid that is mixed with air. The foam is injected into your varicose vein by a doctor or nurse specialist. The foam pushes the blood out the vein. The foam makes the vein walls stick together. After a few weeks, the varicose veins will shrink and disappear. Page 2 of 11

3 What other treatments are there for varicose veins? 1. Surgery You could have an operation to remove the varicose veins. You would have a general anaesthetic to make you sleep. The doctor would make a cut at the top of the leg and pull out the varicose veins. 2. Compression stockings You could wear elastic compression stockings. The special stockings squeeze your legs and help to reduce the swelling of the varicose veins. Compression applying pressure or wrapping firmly. You will be given cream to stop your skin from being too dry. You should exercise to help the blood flow better. Page 3 of 11

4 What should I do before the foam sclerotherapy treatment? You can eat and drink normally. You can take any medicines you need. What will happen on the day? You need to go to the Peter Smith Surgery Centre. Go to the reception desk and tell them your name and give them your appointment letter. A nurse will take you to the PODS department. At the PODS department, you will get changed into a theatre gown. Page 4 of 11

5 What will happen on the day? (continued) Your surgeon will explain the foam sclerotherapy treatment. You will go to the theatre for your treament. The doctor or nurse will scan your leg to find the vein that will be treated. You will be given local anaesthetic injections in your legs around the varicose veins. This will make your legs feel numb so the treatment will not hurt. The foam will be injected in to your varicose veins. The doctor or nurse will put bandages around your legs. A long compression stocking will be put over the bandages. Page 5 of 11

6 What will happen on the day? (continued) After a short rest, you need to have a quick walk for about 15 minutes. This will help your legs feel better. After 1 to 2 hours, you can go home. What are the risks of the foam sclerotherapy treatment? Bruising. You may have a little bruising, but this will disappear quickly in a few weeks. A change in skin colour. About 2-3 people out of 10 have brown streaks on their skin where the varicose vein was. This is more likely to happen if you have pale skin. For most people, the brown marks will fade away over a few months. Lumpy skin. If you have had large varicose veins removed, you may have a bit of lumpiness under the skin. This will normally disappear over a few months. A red lump. Some people will develop a sore red lump on the skin where the varicose vein was. This can be treated with medicine to reduce the swelling. If it is very painful, the doctor can give you a local anaesthetic into the lump to make it numb. He/she will then put in a small plastic tube underneath the lump to remove the blood inside. Page 6 of 11

7 What happens after the foam sclerotherapy treatment? The bandages are removed 1 week after the foam sclerotherapy treatment. You must wear the compression stocking for 3 more weeks after this About 6 to 8 weeks after the treatment, the doctor or nurse will scan your legs. The doctor or nurse will tell you if you need more treatment. Page 7 of 11

8 How soon will I get back to normal? Your leg may feel sore for 1 or 2 days after the foam sclerotherapy treatment. Keep your legs raised up when you are sitting down. 30 minutes It is important that you keep moving around. Do not sit still more than 30 minutes. Try and walk around for 10 minutes every hour when you are awake for the first day after the treatment. Do not do hard exercise such as jogging or the gym for 4 to 6 weeks after the treatment. Do not fly on an aeroplane for 4 to 6 weeks after the foam sclerotherapy treatment. Most people can go back to work after 2 weeks. Page 8 of 11

9 Having a bath or shower Do not have a bath or shower for 1 week after the foam sclerotherapy treatment. This will help to keep the bandages dry. After 1 week the bandages will be taken off and you will only wear the compression stocking. You can have a bath or shower with the compression stocking on. Do not have the water too hot in your bath or shower. Hot water can stop the treatment working well. After your bath or shower take off the wet compression stocking and put on a clean, dry compression stocking. Page 9 of 11

10 Who can I call for help? Monday to Thursday Hospital Nurse Specialist If you are worried, you can call the Nurse Specialist. The Nurse Specialist is called You need to leave a message on the telephone answer machine. The Nurse Specialist will call you back. The telephone number is Helen works in the hospital on the following days and times Monday to Thursday from 8.30 in the morning to 4.30 in the afternoon. Friday and Friday from 8.30 in the morning to 2.00 in the afternoon. NHS Service You can contact NHS Direct on telephone number 111. Your GP You can telephone your own GP for advice and help. Page 10 of 11

11 Data Protection Please read our leaflet How we use and look after your personal information. It explains what we do with information about you. With thanks to the NHS Photo Library Information Leaflet: ER14 Version: 1 Title: Information for Patients who require Foam Sclerotherapy First Published: April 2014 Review Date: April 2016 Authors: Helen Thompson, Vascular Services; Debbie Wilson, Disability Awareness Facilitator We are grateful for the support of the Good Health Sub Group, who helped us to produce this leaflet. Page 11 of 11

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