Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins (VV) whose clinical and cost-effectiveness remains incompletely defined. The aim of the current study was to examine patients’ expectations before and satisfaction after UGFS for VV in terms of relief of lower limb symptoms, improvement in appearance, and beneficial effect on life-style.
A consecutive series of 351 patients (464 limbs) undergoing UGFS for VV completed questionnaires one week prior to and six months after treatment.
Pre and post-treatment response rates were 80%; 60% returned both questionnaires. Virtually all patients were expecting improvement in lower limb symptoms; these were exceeded in a third. Most patients expected cosmetic improvement and these were largely met. Two-thirds of patients expected significant life-style (clothes, work, social) benefits and outcomes were slightly less than expected. A quarter expected improvement in their interpersonal relationships. This benefit was greater than expected occurring in one-third of patients. Overall, a quarter of patients had their expectations exceeded and 10% (appearance and relationships) to 25% (clothing, work and social and leisure activities) were left with unmet expectations.
When specifically asked most patients admit to having a wide range of expectations in relation to their VV treatment, many of them probably unanticipated by the clinician. However, present data indicate that UGFS is usually able to meet, and often exceeds, these physical and psychosocial needs and expectations. UGFS is, therefore, a highly effective treatment for VV from the patients’ perspective.