Are There Noninvasive Treatments for Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are visibly swollen and twisted veins that usually affect the legs and feet. These enlarged and painful veins are often surrounded by patches of flooded capillaries known as spider veins. The condition is considered painful and disfiguring, but it isn’t life-threatening. In fact, varicose veins are a relatively common condition that affects about 23 percent of all Americans. For many people, varicose veins derive from family genetics.
For those individuals suffering from varicose veins, there are several noninvasive treatment options that you may consider, including procedures like radiofrequency ablation and sclerotherapy. However, this wasn’t always the case. Until recently, treatment involved much more aggressive and intrusive techniques that posed health risks for patients. From the history of varicose vein treatment to the minimal or noninvasive treatment options available for you today, here’s everything you need to know.
What Are the Types of Noninvasive Treatments for Varicose Veins?
Not long ago, the traditional method for treating varicose veins involved removing or tying off a large vein in the leg called the superficial saphenous vein. This surgical technique was called “vein stripping.” During the operation, the surgeon would make two or three cuts in your leg near the top, middle, and bottom of the damaged vein through which a plastic wire was threaded. After the wire was tied to the vein, it was pulled out through the lower cut, towing the vein out with it.
As medical technology has advanced, doctors have developed more minimal and noninvasive methods with which to remove varicose veins. These include the following:
This is a form of treatment that involves injecting a solution called a sclerosant into the blood or lymph vessels, causing them to shrink. The sclerosant scars the vein and causes it to collapse, forcing blood to reroute to healthier veins. Your body eventually destroys the veins, which then begin to disappear over time. Another similar treatment option is called “foam sclerotherapy” and involves turning the sclerosant into a foam before injecting it into the vein, which serves to cover a larger surface area than the liquid does.
This is a non-surgical procedure that uses heat and radiofrequency energy to reduce or stop the transmission of pain. Your doctor will begin by numbing the vein and using an ultrasound to see inside the leg. The vein wall will heat up, thicken, contract, and eventually be reabsorbed by the body and disappear. Similar to sclerotherapy, this treatment option takes some time—often a few weeks or months—to see its full results.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
This is a minimally invasive procedure that, similar to radiofrequency ablation, uses the energy from heat in order to close your abnormal veins. However, instead of radiofrequency, this technique involves the use of laser energy. A laser fiber is placed into the diseased vein using a small cut in the skin. After the area around the skin is numbed, the laser fiber shrinks the vein, which will then be reabsorbed by your body over time. This process usually takes about 30 minutes.
What Can You Expect Before, During, and After Your Treatment for Varicose Veins?
A medical professional will walk you through all the steps of this process. Before the procedure, make sure to inform your doctor if you’re pregnant, have any allergies, or are taking any medications. During the procedure—no matter which option you and your doctor settle on—you’ll likely be awake. In the case of radiofrequency ablation or endovenous laser ablation, both you and your doctor will be required to wear protective goggles in order to shield your eyes from the radiofrequency and laser energy. You may feel slight pressure when the catheter is inserted or minor stinging if a sclerosant solution is injected into the vein.
After the procedure, you may be required to wear a leg bandage for several days to control any potential swelling and bleeding. You should plan to avoid activities like strenuous exercise, hot baths, and driving. Your doctor will be able to provide you with more specific suggestions based on the circumstances of your condition and treatment.
Visit the Experts at NJ Spine and Orthopedic
If you’re suffering from varicose veins, consider reaching out to the trusted medical professionals at NJ Spine and Orthopedic for treatment. Our experienced and board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons, orthopedic specialists, and physicians will talk with you one-on-one about your specific injury or condition and discuss treatment options that are right for you. We’re dedicated to providing patients with minimally invasive techniques that will reduce their pain and encourage faster recovery times.
At NJ Spine and Orthopedic, we can help treat your varicose veins, relieve you of your pain, and get you on the road to recovery. If you think you’re suffering from varicose veins but are unsure the cause of your pain, take our free onlinepain assessment quiz. If you know your condition but want to discover the appropriate treatment options, consider utilizing our Treatment Finder. Otherwise, give us a call at (866) 272-9271 or complete our contact form today.