Varicose Veins Q&A
What is a varicose vein?
Varicose veins are the bulged and ropey-looking raised veins that appear on the legs. They are caused by high blood pressure in the superficial veins in the leg causing the veins to weaken and bulge. This condition is referred to as venous insufficiency or reflux. Varicose veins in the legs affect the quality of life by causing pain, numbness, tingling, burning, aching, fatigue, heaviness, swelling and sleep related issues. They also may be a cause of unexplained pelvic pain in females and not just affecting the legs as was once contemplated. Varicose vein disease is caused by poor functioning or damaged valves in veins that can ultimately lead to ulcers and blood clots which can spread to the lungs and be lethal.
What treatments are available for varicose veins?
Radiofrequency Thermal Ablation (ClosureFast®):
The ClosureFast™ procedure provides controlled heat through radiofrequency energy in 20-second bursts which contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and seal. Once a leg vein is closed, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins. This procedure is performed using local anesthesia in the doctor’s office or an outpatient surgical facility. The procedure takes approximately 45-60 minutes, not including pre and post-procedure treatments.
The VenaSeal™ closure system uses a medical adhesive delivered endovenously to close the vein. This is a catheter-based treatment so the doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the insertion site, usually in the groin. Once you are numb, the doctor will insert the catheter and thread it to the vein site. Small amounts of the adhesive will be sent through the catheter to the varicose veins to close and seal them.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT):
Laser vein therapy is a minimally-invasive treatment for varicose vein disease. This innovative procedure takes approximately 45 minutes and requires only local anesthesia. With virtually instant relief from venous pain, our clients can return to their normal lifestyle and activities following treatment with minimal downtime. Our practice is equipped with the latest 1470nm Laser, which is excellent for varicose vein treatment – resulting in minimized patient discomfort and recovery time. During this, a thin catheter is inserted into the vein in the leg and a laser at the tip of the catheter heat up and destroy the vein.
Varithena (Chemical Vein Ablation):
Varithena® (polidocanol injectable foam) is a prescription medicine used to treat varicose veins caused by problems with the great saphenous vein (GSV) and other related veins. Varithena®. The medication is injected either directly into the vein or through a catheter. Treatment takes about an hour and patients can usually return to normal activities on the same day. Compression stockings will need to be worn for 2 weeks and heavy exercise should be avoided for the first week after treatment.
Sclerotherapy is a process used to treat varicose or spider veins in a patient, usually affecting the legs. The procedure uses a chemical called sclerosant to minimize the affected veins. The drug is injected into the varicose veins and can take anywhere from five to 30 minutes depending on how many veins are being treated. Sclerotherapy is often done under ultrasound guidance so the physician can deliver and monitor the injection.