Varicose veins are warped, enflamed veins that become tender because they are over-filled with blood. We have valves in our veins to help us keep blood flowing to our hearts, but in varicose veins, that valve is missing or damaged. The veins typically begin to manifest in the legs, and become visible above the skins surface, usually taking on a blue hue. The good news is, even though they can be tough to look at and cause a lot of pain and discomfort, they are not deadly, and there are noninvasive treatments available.
There are more invasive treatments that require surgery, for example, a surgery known as “vein stripping” is done to destroy varicose veins. This procedure requires making incisions into the skin and physically removing the vein from the body. Luckily, current developments have been made that get rid of varicose veins using noninvasive procedures. These new, noninvasive methods can be done in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia and usually have minimal side effects.
The first method is known as Sclerotherapy, which is primarily used to treat smaller varicose veins, known as spider veins. The doctor injects a solution directly into the spider vein which irritates it, causes it to breakdown and vanish. The solution is called sodium tetradecyl sulfate and it works by increasing blood clot and scar tissue development inside the vein, thus assisting the veins to decrease in size.
Another option is to get them treated with an intense pulsed light (IPL) laser that essentially zaps them away. The laser causes the vessel to shut by use of heat, causing the veins to shrink and reabsorb into the body. The IPL treatments are completed in a doctor’s office and usually takes around 20 minutes, and most people can resume their normal activities the same day.
The final method is radiofrequency ablation therapy. The word ablation basically means heat is utilized to cause tissue damage to form scar tissue. In this case radiofrequency energy is used to heat and damage the vein wall, and it’s this scar tissue that seals the varicose vein, eventually causing it to disappear. For this procedure, compression stockings or wrapping legs in bandages are recommended for a few days after treatment. Usually the doctor will conduct an ultrasound after the procedure to ensure the scar tissue has completely closed off the veins.
The purpose of these treatments is to reduce associated pain and to improve the appearance of the legs, with little down time and risk. These noninvasive methods are very effective and have helped improve the lives of many individuals suffering with varicose veins by eliminating pain and improving the overall appearance of the legs.
If you’re interested in treating your varicose veins, contact The Vein Centre, today. 615-269-9007.