What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins close to the surface of the skin. They usually develop in the legs and above the ankles. Varicose veins affect over 40 million Americans. Symptoms can include pain, itching & burning, leg aching, muscle fatigue, leg heaviness, restlessness leg syndrome, and leg cramping while asleep.
This problem, if untreated, becomes worse over time. In some cases the untreated venous disease can lead to serious complications such as blood clots, spontaneous bleeding from the dilated vein and/or skin ulcerations around the ankle.
To determine if the valves in the vein are damaged and not working properly, a painless non-invasive ultrasound test is performed. With the ultra sound device, the physician can watch the direction of the blood flow and see if the valves are allowing ‘reflux’ or backflow indicating a damaged valve. Once the cause of the varicose vein is determined, then a proper course of treatment can be prescribed.
In laser vein treatment, a thin fiber is inserted into the damaged vein. A laser light is emitted through the fiber, delivering just the right amount of energy. The targeted tissue reacts with the light energy, causing the vein to close and seal shut. The veins that are closed off are superficial veins that handle less than 5% of your blood flow. The blood is automatically routed to other veins. After treatment, the appearance of the abnormal vein is instantly improved with minimal-to-no scarring. There may be some slight swelling and minimal bruising around the treatment site. However, once that subsides, you will see a significant difference in the appearance of your legs. For those patients who don’t experience these small side effects, the results are obvious right away. Published clinical studies show that the VenaCure EVLT™ procedure has more than a 95% initial success rate with excellent long term results. Veins that have been treated are very unlikely to become varicose again.
For more information about the laser procedure, discover VENACure EVLT at www.angiodynamics.com.
The Closure® Procedure
VNUS Closure® is a clinically proven, minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins and their underlying cause, venous reflux, with little or no pain. Closure® patients can walk away from the vein procedure and be back to everyday activities – either at home or at work – typically within a day.The VNUS Closure® procedure brings state-of-the-art technology to an age-old disease. It’s performed on an outpatient basis.
Using ultrasound, your physician will position the Closure® catheter into the diseased vein, through a small opening in the skin. The tiny catheter delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy to the vein wall. As the RF energy is delivered and the catheter is withdrawn, the vein wall is heated, causing the collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood is re-routed to other healthy veins. Following the procedure, a simple bandage is placed over the insertion site, and additional compression may be provided to aid healing. Your doctor may encourage you to walk, and to refrain from extended standing and strenuous activities for a period of time.
Phlebectomy is the surgical removal of any surface varicose veins that are left over after the VNUS Closure. Small incisions are made to pull the veins out with minimal to almost no scarring. This is done on an outpatient basis. Patients are able to resume ordinary activities within a day. With all procedures support hose must be worn.
Sclerotherapy is performed in the doctor’s office by one of our surgeons. The solution is injected through a very fine needle directly into the vein. At this point, you may experience mild discomfort and cramping for one to two minutes, especially when larger veins are injected. The procedure itself takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes. The number of veins injected in one session varies, and depends on the size and location of the veins, as well as the general medical condition of the patient.
Prior to the procedure, you will have an initial consultation with a vascular medicine specialist who will decide if you’re a good candidate for sclerotherapy. You are not eligible if you are pregnant or bedridden. You can have sclerotherapy if you take birth control pills. If you have had a blood clot in the past, your eligibility will be decided on an individual basis, and will depend on the overall health of the area needing treatment as well as the reason for the clot.Veins that are potentially usable for future surgical bypass procedures (i.e. use of the saphenous vein, a large vein in the leg used for coronary artery bypass graft surgery) will generally not be considered for sclerotherapy, unless they are already deemed unusable.
Sclerotherapy is one of the primary treatments of spider veins. Spider veins are usually blue or red in color. The blue veins are treated with a sclerosing agent which is injected into the small vessels of the skin. This irritates the cell wall causing it to collapse and disappear.
Ask Our Surgeon
Varicose veins (also called varicosities) are twisted and enlarged veins that generally occur in the legs and feet. They are veins that no longer function effectively and develop because of pressure from standing, walking and other upright activities. Over time the one-way valves in these veins, which are meant to help blood flow back to the heart, degenerate and cause the veins to dilate, blood to pool and pressure to increase. They can be a purely cosmetic concern for some people and extremely painful for others.
First line treatment is usually conservative and includes wearing compression stockings. This, however, is often a short-term solution that treats the symptoms but doesn’t address the underlying problem. Your doctor may also recommend vein ablation because it is a long-term solution that addresses the problem at its source: the vein. In the procedure, a heat source such as laser destroys the varicose vein and blood is automatically rerouted through well-functioning veins. Your doctor will also make small incisions to remove large branches of the varicose veins that are visible.
Most vein ablation procedures can be performed in an office with the patient receiving local anesthesia. Scarring is usually minimal and hardly noticeable. Another advantage for this procedure is that varicose veins rarely reappear.
Learn more: Colorado Cardiovascular Surgical Associates, P.C.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Hupp: 303-778-6527