Treatments Options for Varicose Veins
The varicose vein is a disease of the venous system in which superficial veins become dilated and enlarged on one or both of the legs. They look prominent and are of purple or blue color generally. There are many symptoms of varicose veins like heavy and achy legs, swollen feet and ankles, throbbing pain, and skin changes.
Once you notice the symptoms of varicose veins in your leg or legs, contact your doctor to get this disease treated as soon as possible. The more you delay, the more problems you face. Getting varicose veins treated early is a wise decision as it helps avoid potential complications which include deep venous thrombosis, venous eczema, and varicose ulcers etc. (through the blog, you use “etc,” but I’d remove these because the layman does not have any idea of what other options might be)
There are many treatment options available for varicose veins which provide a safe and effective cure from the disease. The following is a brief introduction of some frequently available methods of treatment.
Ligation and Vein Stripping Surgery
This procedure involves ligating the involved superficial veins where they join the deep veins. After that, your doctor strips the involved veins and removes them. Removing these veins cures the disease without causing any harm to circulation because the deep veins remain. This procedure does not take long but it is no longer performed because better options are available.
Catheter Assisted Procedures with the Help of Radiofrequency Waves or Laser
This process involves a destruction of the affected veins. A catheter is inserted in the affected vein and radiofrequency waves or laser is used to heat its end. When this heated catheter passes through the vein, it destroys the vein and makes it scarred. The affected vein eventually shuts and does not allow blood flow through it. This procedure is especially good to treat large varicose veins.
It is a non-invasive procedure which involves focusing a laser beam over varicose veins through intact skin. The laser makes these veins disappear slowly. This procedure works better for small veins.
This is a relatively newer technique. In this process, foam solution is injected into the affected veins in order to seal them off. This technique works better for large veins.
This is an ultrasounds assisted procedure that utilizes ultrasounds to provide more precise results. A sclerosing agent is injected in the affected veins with help of ultrasounds. This agent causes scarring and closes the involved vein permanently and prevents blood flow toward it. It is a specialized procedure with very good results for small and medium-sized veins. Sometimes the procedure needs to be performed more than one time.
Phlebectomy means removal of veins. This procedure is done under local anesthesia and does not require admission to hospital. The doctor gives small incisions over the areas where varicose veins are present and these veins are removed. Only minimum scarring occurs after this procedure.
This technique is not commonly performed and it is reserved mostly for resistant cases. Doctors implement this technique if the varicose veins are not going away with other methods. It is an endoscopic surgery and involves inserting a video camera into the veins to visualize the defects. Once your doctor is able to visualize the defects, he closes the varicose veins and removes them through a small incision on the leg. This procedure does not take a long time.
There are many available treatment options, therefore your doctor chooses the one which suits you best according to the number and size of the involved veins. However, you always have the authority to choose or deny a certain procedure based on your doctor’s recommendations.
Muzammal Habib, MD
Vascular Medicine and vein specialist
Dr. Habib has been practicing vein care and vascular More about this author »