How to Choose a Varicose Vein Treatment
You have several treatment options for varicose veins, but deciding which one is best for you can be a challenge.
If you’re considering treatment for your varicose veins, you have several minimally invasive surgical options available. All have been proven safe and effective in eliminating painful, swollen varicose veins, but some treatments may be better than others for you, depending on your health and needs.
Varicose vein treatments fall into three main categories: endovenous laser ablation, ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, and surgery. In endovenous laser ablation, the heat from a thin laser fiber closes up the damaged vein, allowing blood to flow to healthier veins. This procedure is usually reserved for larger varicose veins.
During ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, a foam substance known as a sclerosant is injected into the vein, irritating the vein walls and eventually causing the vein to collapse. Ambulatory phlebectomy, a minor surgical operation, removes a varicose vein through two small incisions in the leg.
You and a vein specialist can discuss these various treatment options, and decide which would be the best suited for your individual condition and lifestyle. All of these procedures require little to no anesthesia, are performed in an office setting, and have a brief recovery period.
Choosing a Varicose Vein Treatment
Varicose veins stem from dysfunctional valves in the leg veins. Normally, these tiny flaps work against the force of gravity to push blood back to the heart from the extremities. When the valves weaken, blood pools within the vein walls in what is known as venous reflux. Over time, this extra blood clogs the vein and leads to the appearance of twisting, bulging ropes of veins along the legs and feet. Though most varicose veins don’t cause symptoms, the condition may lead to aching, heavy legs or even skin ulcers.
The type of treatment depends on several factors, such as the size and location of the varicose vein. A recent study from the U.K. revealed patients undergoing laser ablation reported the highest satisfaction rate after the procedure compared to foam sclerotherapy. The research, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, further noted that five years after the procedure, recurrence rates were greatest among the foam sclerotherapy group. More specifically, foam treatments for varicose veins in the large saphenous veins running the length of the leg had a 55 percent success rate compared to 80 percent for patients who had surgery or laser ablation.
This study shouldn’t deter you from undergoing foam sclerotherapy or any other varicose vein therapy. For many patients, foam sclerotherapy remains a viable alternative that successfully treats varicose veins. A vein specialist will examine your veins and recommend a procedure to permanently rid you of the protruding veins. However, you may need more than one treatment or a combination of treatments.
Whichever procedure you choose, you can return to your normal activities within hours, although strenuous activity isn’t recommended for a few weeks. You’ll need to check for any signs of infection, and to help the veins pump blood, you’ll wear tightly woven compression stockings after the surgery.
Time to Treat Your Varicose Veins
At the Center for Vein Restoration, we’re experts in treating varicose veins through sclerotherapy, laser ablation, surgery, and other methods. We’ll guide you to the right procedure based on a thorough diagnosis of your individual vein health and preference. Contact us today for an appointment.