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Phlebology. 2012 Mar;27 Suppl 1:46-51. doi: 10.1258/phleb.2012.012S09.

Complications of foam sclerotherapy.

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Foam sclerotherapy may result in drug and/or gas-related complications of a generalized or localized nature. Significant complications include anaphylactic/anaphylactoid reactions (very rare), deep vein thrombosis (1-3%), stroke (0.01%), superficial venous thrombosis (4.4%), tissue necrosis (variable frequency), oedema (0.5%) and nerve damage (0.2%). Cosmetic complications include telangiectatic matting (15-24%) and pigmentation (10-30%). Patent foramen ovale and other cardio-pulmonary right-to-left shunts seem to play a role in the systemic gas-related complications. In conclusion, foam sclerotherapy is characterized by an overall high degree of safety, though special attention should be given to the embolic and thrombotic complications. Good technique, adequate imaging, general precautions and compliance with post-treatment instructions may help avoid some of the adverse events and an appropriate early intervention may minimize possible sequelae. Higher volumes of sclerosant foam have been attributed to local and distant thrombotic complications and should be avoided.

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