Varicose Veins & Treatments

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Dr. Angela Van Gilder, DO Health & Fitness, Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged or bulging veins that appear under the skin. It can lead to cramping, restless legs, swelling, skin discoloration, or ulcers. They can show up anywhere throughout the body but are most commonly found on the legs. The conditions of varicose veins can be anything from mild to severe. Some cases never need to be treated, while others may require intervention.

What are the Different Treatments for Varicose Veins?

There are a few different treatment options for varicose veins. The decision will be made between you, your physician, and usually your insurance. It is also dependent on the condition of the veins, your age, medical history, tolerance, and of course your preference. The main treatments are minimally invasive and include Radiofrequency ablation, VenaSeal ablation, Sclerotherapy, Varithena®, and more. Below are each of the main treatments and what each process entails.

Radiofrequency (Thermal) Ablation

This procedure uses radiofrequency therapy in order to scar the varicose veins from the inside. During this outpatient surgery, a small catheter is inserted into the vein. Radiofrequency energy is sent through the catheter, which then affects the vein. The vein scars down and blood no longer flows through the vein. Since the vein can no longer be used, other veins take over. Patients resume most activities the same day.

VenaSeal Ablation

This procedure uses an adhesive that “glues” the walls of the veins closed.  This will seal off the diseased vein and blood will no longer flow through it.  It is very safe and does not have risk of nerve injury.  This is also an outpatient surgery and has no down time.  Patients resume most activities the same day.

Sclerotherapy

This is a treatment performed in the clinic for spider veins. This treatment does not require anesthesia and is completed in less than an hour. A solution is injected directly into the spider vein. This solution is meant to irritate the vein wall making it scar closed. The veins will eventually disappear.  This procedure also has no down time.

Varithena®

This treatment involves a microfoam solution that is injected into the vein. Recovery is very minimal and most people can get back to regular activity directly after the procedure. The treatment takes less than an hour. The results are noticeable soon after the injections, and most patients only need one round of treatment for it to work effectively. Check out the Varithena® website for all of the information on this treatment.

Other

Some cases of varicose veins are very minimal and don’t require any procedures. In these situations, a doctor will recommend simple solutions including compression stockings, elevating the area, and consistent exercise. Most doctors recommend you get measured for the correct size of compression socks. The amount of time you will have to wear the socks per day depends on the extent of the varicose veins and how well the compression is working. Another recommendation is elevating the area throughout the day. This is especially important for people that are sitting or standing for long periods of time. Exercise and staying active have also been found to help alleviate the problem. A walking regimen can help improve venous symptoms.

There are multiple treatment options for varicose veins. It is important to get in contact with your doctor if you have noticed any visibly bulging veins and/or pain in those areas. A doctor is going to examine the legs and recommend the best treatment options for you!