Varicose veins are unsightly, uncomfortable veins that have permanently lost their ability to efficiently take the blood from the legs against the forces of gravity back up to the heart and lungs. As the blood falls and pools due to gravity, the reverse flow overfills these veins, giving them their typical bulging appearance. The swollen varicose veins cause aching, heavy tired legs at the end of the day, night cramps, itching and other symptoms. If left untreated, varicose veins may lead to the formation of blood clots in the deep veins which can travel to the brain, heart or lungs. It can also cause phlebitis which is an inflammation of the vein, or even cause an ulcer to form. Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic problem, each year approximately 150,000 Americans die from varicose vein-related complications and 2.5 million others become severely disabled due to varicose veins.
50% of adults over the age of 50 are in need of relief from harmful varicose veins. Heredity is a primary factor in 80% of varicose vein cases. Other contributing factors include pregnancy, obesity, standing for long periods and injury.
There are several methods in which varicose veins can be treated. Typically a combination of several approached provides the best possible outcome. The combination of procedures recommended is based upon the severity of your condition.
Special support stockings can be prescribed to slow down the progression of varicose veins. This is done for symptomatic relief, but this will not cure your condition. Often insurance companies require a “trial” of conservative therapy prior to approving medical necessity of treatment.
This procedure involves the injection of a solution into the diseased veins. The solutions work by causing the veins to shrink, close off and gradually disappear. The solution used is totally safe, and effective. No anesthetic is utilized. For larger varicosities ultrasound is often used to“guide”the injections into the underlying diseased vessels below the surface of the skin. This allows the medications to be administered into precise locations safely and accurately, to achieve superior, long lasting results.
These procedures are used on the largest of varicose veins. They offer the longest lasting results. As opposed to traditional surgery called “stripping” there is no hospitalization and no general anesthesia. These newer and advanced procedures are performed in the office with little or no scarring.
Endovenous Laser Ablation is where a laser fiber is inserted into the vein through a needle. The laser delivers heat energy which causes the vein to shrink and seal shut. This laser fiber is used to treat the larger underlying saphenous vein, which is often the cause of the bulging veins on the surface of the leg. In some cases, other treatment including Ambulatory Phlebectomy and/or sclerotherapy is also performed to achieve the best overall results. Most patients are able to return to work and near normal activities the very next day.
All patients are instructed to walk a great deal in the days following each treatment. This helps to re-route the blood through the deeper healthier veins. Compression stockings are used daily to assist in healing, reduce any mild discomfort and swelling which may occur during treatment. One of the best things about these treatments is that they are relatively painless. You can go right back to work, and your normal routine following treatment. You may drive yourself to all follow-up visits. These follow-up visits are very important. During these visits we assess the efficacy of treatment and evaluate your body’s healing response to the therapy. Often it is during this period that additional sclerotherapy, with or without Ultrasound guidance, is performed to insure the best long-term results possible. These follow up appointments are the reason for our superior results.