How Can I Treat my Varicose Veins?

Do you have varicose veins that are causing your legs to feel achy and painful?  If so, you are probably wondering how to treat your varicose veins and get relief from these uncomfortable symptoms.   

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are damaged veins that develop due to the weakening of the one-way valves in them that enable blood flow to the heart.  They are twisted, bulging veins that are usually dark purple or blue in color and commonly occur on the legs.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins tend to affect pregnant women, but people who are overweight or stand for extended periods are also at risk.  These factors put additional pressure on the veins, and as a result, they have to work harder to send blood back to the heart.   

The extra pressure can cause the one-way valves to weaken.   When this happens, the blood may flow backward and collect in the veins, causing them to become enlarged. 

Varicose veins tend to run in families, so people with family members who have varicose veins have a higher risk of developing them.   

Symptoms Of Varicose Veins

Throbbing, aching, heaviness, and muscle cramping are common symptoms of varicose veins.

How Can I Treat My Varicose Veins?

Surgical vein stripping was once the gold standard for treating varicose veins.    Fortunately, there are now several minimally invasive treatment options, which are less painful and require little to no downtime.  

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)

EVLA is a non-invasive procedure that uses laser energy to treat problematic veins.  It is typically more effective for treating larger varicose veins that are deeper in the leg.

During EVLA, a thin laser fiber is inserted into the abnormal vein.    The thermal energy from the laser fiber heats the vein, causing it to collapse and close.  The blood is then re-routed through healthy veins.   

EVLA is a quick, painless outpatient procedure that is done under local anesthesia,  and takes about 1 hour to complete.  There is no downtime after EVLA, so  patients can resume regular activities right away.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that removes varicose veins using a specialized instrument, which is inserted through small incisions in the skin.  The procedure is used to treat varicose veins that are close to the surface of the skin. 

There may be some swelling and bruising around the injection site after ambulatory phlebectomy, but there is no downtime.  

Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is a specialized procedure in which a sclerosing agent is injected into the diseased vein using ultrasound guidance.  Within seconds of the injection, the sclerosing agent causes the vein to seal shut.  

The treated veins are subsequently absorbed by the body and disappear from view over time.  Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy can be performed alongside other therapies such as EVLA or ambulatory phlebectomy to improve results.  

There may be some mild discomfort and bruising after treatment, but this does not prevent patients from resuming normal activities.  

A compression garment is usually worn on the treated leg after vein treatment to minimize pain and swelling.

While EVLT, ambulatory phlebectomy, and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy are effective treatments for varicose veins, patients need to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent a recurrence.

If you would like to learn more about these and other treatments for varicose veins, it’s essential to consult with an experienced vascular specialist.  The vein specialist will evaluate your varicose veins to determine which treatment option would be right for you.  

Varicose veins can become serious when left untreated, so it’s best to treat them early to prevent complications in the future. 

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