Varicose veins can be painful and unsightly, which makes most sufferers seek treatment for this medical condition. There are options ranging from conservative to surgical treatments, and you and your doctor can discuss your case to determine which treatment will give you the results you desire.
Treatment options for varicose veins:
- Rest and Elevation each day reduces the flow of blood to the lower leg.
- [+]Compression stockings or support hose can be used to lessen the pain and discomfort from this disease.
- Medications such as Ibuprofen or other anti-inflammatory medicine help relieve pain and discomfort.
- Sclerotherapy involves injecting the veins with medications to block the blood flow, causing them to shrink and disappear.
- Thermal ablation uses a laser to heat the vein, which makes it seal itself off, stopping the blood flow to the affected area. This causes the varicose vein to die, ending the suffering of the patient.
- [+]Endovenous Ablation
Compression socks are used to serve a medical purpose. Individuals with circulatory disorders or diabetes should consider using compression socks in order to foster circulation in their feet and legs. See a vein specialist to determine if compression socks are a possible treatment for your venous insufficiency. Here’s how they work:
The Sock: Strong elastic or spandex is used to make compression socks because they can graduate pressure, meaning the strength of the elastic gets weaker as it goes up the leg. Blood often pools at the ankle, but because the elastic is stronger there, the sock forces a “milking” action that pumps the blood through the legs, promoting healthy circulation.
Use: People with venous insufficiencies often elevate feet and legs to relieve short-term pain. However, long-term symptoms like poor circulation, blood clots, and heavy, tired legs can be relieved with compression socks. Additionally, compression socks don’t require you to stay immobile. Blood that would have remained at the patient’s feet is pressured by the compression socks to push through the veins and return to the heart, avoiding circulatory problems like edema, phlebitis, and thrombosis.
Medical Purpose: Post-venous surgeries often require compression socks to be worn to keep the circulation in the legs healthy. Compression socks are available in a variety of colors, styles, and pressure ranges, but be sure to speak with a physician about what range would be best for you. A physician can prescribe the right amount and teach you how to place the compression sock on your leg.
Microphlebectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure designed to remove varicose veins through several small incisions just under the patient’s skin. Unlike vein stripping, microphlebectomy makes it possible for your varicose vein doctor to remove the diseased vein without the use of a guide-wire.
After identifying and marking the veins to be removed, your doctor will numb the area with a localized anesthetic. Once the area is sufficiently numb, your doctor will then make a miniscule incision along the varicose vein before using a hook to grasp and remove it with little-to-know tissue damage. It is normal for patients to have their skin dressed in compression stockings or bandages following this 30-45 minute procedure.
Most patients find that they are able to resume their normal activities immediately after the procedure; however, it is crucial to avoid strenuous exercise or activity for the first week following microphlebectomy to ensure proper healing. Your doctor may also recommend compression stockings or dressings for the first week following the treatment to help maintain the results.
While there may be some initial bruising to the site, the incisions during a microphlebectomy are so small that they do not require stitches and leave virtually no scarring. In addition, most patients find that the results are visible almost immediately.
Endovenous ablation is a minimally-invasive treatment used to close varicose veins (abnormally enlarged veins) in the leg. Normally, valves in leg veins, working with the calf muscles, pump blood from the legs back to the heart. However, if one of the valves leaks or fails, then blood is able to pool in the vein instead of returning to the heart as it should. This pooling blood causes the vein to bulge and become enlarged—what’s known as a varicose vein.
Endovenous ablation is usually done as an outpatient procedure in a varicose vein clinic, although some cases may require inpatient treatment. During endovenous ablation, doctors will first use an ultrasound machine to visualize the vein. Next, the varicose vein doctor will insert a catheter into the skin and place it inside of the dysfunctional vein. A laser fire or radiofrequency electrode is then inserted through the catheter into the vein, and is used to heat up the vessel until it closes. Once the faulty blood vessel is sealed off with endovenous ablation, the blood flow will divert to other healthy veins that are nearby.
After endovenous ablation, you can expect minimal amounts of scarring, side effects, and recovery time. In fact, using a varicose vein treatment such as endovenous ablation will actually improve circulation in the area. A few days after your varicose vein treatment, you’ll have a follow-up exam, where the doctor will evaluate the success of your treatment with an ultrasound.
If more involved treatments are needed to manage varicose veins, there are surgical options that will work for some patients. The veins can be stripped, which removes part or most of the vein, effectively stopping the condition in its tracks. This treatment option can be painful, and for many patients, similar results can be achieved using non-surgical treatments. It is best to discuss your options with your varicose vein doctor.
If you suffer from varicose veins, then you need to find a doctor who specializes in treating your medical condition. At Houston Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates, our varicose vein doctors can help you find relief from your painful and unpleasant vein problems.
Give our office a call at 281.240.8400 to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today.