Patients with varicose veins sometimes suffer from more than cosmetic issues. These vessels often cause discomfort and interfere with normal activities. Understanding the varicose vein treatment options available from Detroit vein doctors can help patients avoid excessive stress.
Varicose Vein Overview
Varicose veins are one of the most common medical problems in the United States. The Society of Interventional Radiology says that roughly half of Americans suffer from some type of vein disease. Of those, as many as 25 percent of females and 15 percent of males develop visible varicose vessels. Half of the population at least 50 years old has varicose veins.
These abnormal vessels develop when vein valves weaken, causing blood to fall backward instead of returning to the heart. As blood pools, it stretches the vein’s walls. The result is often a varicose vein.
Detroit Vein Treatment Options
A vein doctor will examine and take the history of patients who visit a Michigan vein clinic for varicose veins. This specialist is usually a vascular surgeon or an interventional radiologist. Treatment recommendations fall into two categories, lifestyle changes and medical procedures, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute indicates.
When varicose veins pose few issues, a physician often initially suggests lifestyle changes such as:
- Losing excess weight
- Avoiding tight clothing and shoes
- Elevating the legs when possible
- Getting more activity to improve circulation
- Avoiding sitting or standing for extended periods or crossing the legs
- Wearing compression stockings
No medical procedure can prevent new abnormal veins from forming. However, the Mayo Clinic reports that physicians use these varicose vein treatment options to close or remove existing veins:
- Sclerotherapy is the gold standard for treating spider veins. Vein specialists also use it for small varicose veins. The physician injects a chemical that causes irritation and scarring. The treated vein closes off and eventually disappears. Variations of this outpatient procedure include microsclerotherapy for very small vessels and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy to better visualize deeper veins. Foam sclerotherapy is a recent technique ideal for treating larger vessels.
- Laser therapies allow vein specialists to close small varicose veins. Laser surgery requires no needles or incisions. Strong bursts of light enter a vein, causing it to eventually fade from view.
- Catheter-assisted treatments involve inserting a tube into a targeted vein, then heating the tip of the catheter with laser or radiofrequency energy. Heat causes the vessel to seal shut as the doctor withdraws the catheter. This is the preferred option for larger varicose vessels.
- Ligation and stripping ties off and removes a vein before it merges with a deeper vessel.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy removes small veins through tiny punctures in the skin under local anesthetic.
- Endoscopic vascular surgery is appropriate for some advanced cases. It involves inserting a video camera into the leg, closing veins, and then removing each one through a small incision.