Understanding Your Vein Treatment Options
Are you thinking about treating your varicose veins? You have many treatment options, but not all of them will be a good fit for your needs.
It’s that time of year in New Hampshire where residents think about summertime at the waterfront. Although the Granite State offers only a short ocean shoreline, New Hampshire boasts a tranquil lake region in the middle of the state for warm weather recreation.
If you’re considering treatments for your varicose veins and spider veins, now would be the time to ensure smooth legs this summer. Luckily, you have many options from which to choose. Here’s what to know about each.
Your Vein Treatment Options Explained
Varicose veins and spider veins develop when your veins aren’t working properly, leading to visibly swollen veins or tangles of thin lines on the legs and feet. Although many people have no symptoms from these damaged veins, others experience pain, swelling, itching, cramping, and heaviness in the limbs.
Those symptoms occur when tiny flaps in the veins fail to pump blood back to the heart after the arteries have circulated oxygenated blood to your tissues and organs. This venous reflux, as it is known, causes the blood to build up within the vein walls. Over time, the vein wall can no longer hold this excess of blood, and an enlarged varicose vein emerges from under the skin. A similar phenomenon happens with spider veins, but spider veins remain flat.
Depending on the size and location of your varicose veins and spider veins, your vein specialist will recommend one of several therapies. Each requires little to no anesthesia and is performed in a vein specialist’s office.
Sclerotherapy. A popular treatment for both spider veins and varicose veins, sclerotherapy involves injecting a safe, FDA-approved medicine into the damaged vein to close it. As the doctor applies gentle pressure on the vein, the vein seals shut, and blood shifts to nearby healthy veins.
Laser and Radiofrequency Ablation. Typically reserved for varicose veins, laser and radiofrequency ablation treatments use heat to eradicate the problem veins. Though the type of heat used is different (laser versus radiofrequency), the basic principle is the same. A thin fiber tube or catheter is inserted into the vein after a topical anesthetic is applied to the area. As the tube runs along the vein, the heat causes the vein walls to collapse and stick together, thereby destroying the diseased vein while blood diverts to healthier veins.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy. Larger varicose veins benefit from ambulatory phlebectomy, a minimally invasive procedure requiring two small incisions from which the clogged vein is removed. Local anesthesia makes the procedure comfortable, and stitches are not necessary. Similar to other varicose vein extraction techniques, blood reroutes to other veins.
Those are three of the most common procedures for varicose veins. However, newer techniques are now widely used as well. VenaSeal, for one, uses a proprietary medical adhesive infused into the vein to close it. This method doesn’t require anesthesia. Another innovation, ClariVein, combines both a sclerosing agent with a tiny, rotating tip on a catheter. Using a mechanochemical ablation device, the solution is injected into the vein while the rotating tip eliminates the diseased vein. Only one incision is needed for ClariVein.
All are viable treatment options for varicose veins; however, you may need more than one session to completely erase unsightly veins. A 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that patients expressed higher satisfaction post-surgery with laser ablation compared to surgery or sclerotherapy. Yet the study noted patients said the surgery and sclerotherapy were also effective in eliminating varicose veins symptoms.
Whichever procedure you and your vein specialist choose, your after-care program, while brief, usually means monitoring for bruising, bleeding, and infection, as well as avoiding heavy lifting for a period of time. In consultation with your vein specialist, you’ll select a treatment and recovery plan best suited for your specific condition and lifestyle.
CVR Loves the Granite State
In New Hampshire, Center for Vein Restoration operates two clinics. Dr. Normand Miller, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT, supervises both, drawing upon his expertise as a certified vascular surgeon. He has extensive experience in all vascular procedures and will guide you through the process of improving your vein health. Contact him today for a consultation at one of these locations:
400 Amherst Street
Nashua, NH 03063
224 Main Street
Salem, NH 03079