Varicose veins are probably as old as humankind and have been described in many ancient medical texts. Today’s doctors and patients have some distinct advantages when it comes to varicose vein treatments, as many modern treatments are office-based, minimally invasive procedures. Here are the basics about varicose vein treatments from Metro Vein Centers.
Modern Varicose Vein Treatments
At one time, surgery was the only option for varicose veins. Today, advances in radiology, medications and techniques mean that surgery is required much less frequently. Most modern treatments can be performed in a doctor’s office or vein center. Even surgeries like vein stripping are often outpatient procedures. The healing time for minimally invasive procedures is much shorter; there is less tissue trauma and most patients can resume normal activities within 24 hours. Scarring is also minimal.
Varicose Vein Treatment: Lasers
The two primary laser treatments for varicose veins are endovenous later treatment (EVLT) and transdermal laser treatment or pulsed light therapy. Although both use lasers, EVLT uses tiny lasers inserted into the varicose veins through a small incision (cut) while transdermal lasers are applied to the skin. Both cause the veins to collapse and scar closed. EVLT is used for larger varicose veins and transdermal laser treatment is used for spider veins.
Varicose Vein Treatment: Sclerotherapy
For spider veins and smaller varicose veins, sclerotherapy is the most commonly recommended treatment. The doctor injects a special solution into the vein with a tiny needle. The solution irritates the vein walls, which swell, and then collapse and scar closed. Eventually the collapsed vein is absorbed into the surrounding tissue. For larger varicose veins, the doctor may use ultrasound to map the veins and allow the injection of a foam that acts like sclerotherapy solutions but covers a larger area.
Varicose Vein Treatment: Ambulatory Phlebectomy and Vein Stripping
Ambulatory phlebectomy is like mini-surgery. The doctor makes tiny incisions over the vein, cuts the vein and grasps each cut end to gently pull the vein piece through the skin. This procedure is typically used in larger surface veins in the legs. Vein stripping (also called ligation and stripping) is similar, but is reserved for large, deep veins and requires the use of a general anesthetic. The surgery is not very common today since the minimally invasive procedures are equally effective, less time consuming and easier on the patient.
After the Procedure
Most of the minimally invasive procedures require little aftercare. The procedures themselves are short – and hour or two at most – and since they use only local anesthetics, recovery time is also short. Compression stockings are the norm for procedures in the legs. Patients can walk out of the office and most are back at their normal activities within a day or two. Vigorous exercise is usually off the table for a week or so, however.
Insurance often covers most of the varicose vein treatments we offer. Please contact us at Metro Vein Centers for questions or to schedule an appointment. We serve the Houston area of Texas.