Varicose Vein Treatment
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Varicose Vein Treatment
Los Angeles Specialists in Varicose Vein Treatment
Over the age of fifty, nearly half of us develop varicose veins. Caused by blood pooling in the veins (normally in the lower limb), due to wear and tear of the valves that help regulate venous circulation, varicose veins can cause significant discomfort, as well as cause unwanted changes to the surrounding skin and even result in venous ulcers. Not only do varicose veins frequently result in health problems, they can also look unsightly, leaving patients reluctant to wear shorts, swim or perform other activities where their legs may be on display. Luckily, there are a number of effective varicose vein surgery options available that can quickly and safely remove troublesome varicose veins, relieving symptoms and giving aesthetically pleasing results.
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) For Varicose Veins
Laser treatment is an advanced option that involves guiding a laser beam down the length of the vein, without the need for any surgical incisions or cuts. The laser shrinks the abnormally dilated and highly pressurized vein, causing restoration of physiologic blood flow through existing normal vein trunks and resulting in the body absorbing the vein as part of the natural healing process. We use the newest generation state-of-the-art laser devices, minimizing discomfort at the same time as providing excellent results. Laser treatment is generally very fast, painless and can be done in a matter of minutes requiring only local anesthetics. The entire procedure can be performed in the doctor’s office, rather than an operating room. The endovenous laser treatment involves no “down-time”, done in an ambulatory setting, and the patient will have no limitation to their normal activities following treatment.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RF Ablation) for Varicose Veins
In much the same way as EVLT, RF ablation works by using energy to cause the troublesome vein to close and collapse. A slender catheter is passed down the length of the vein, through a small surgical incision made at the top. The catheter is powered by radio frequency (RF) energy and heats the vein as it passes down its length. After the treatment, the body redirects blood flow to other veins, and then naturally absorbs the collapsed vein. RF ablation is an out-patient procedure that requires a small, local anesthetic. Like EVLT, RF ablation requires minimal aftercare and there are few restrictions on activity post-procedure.
Sclerotherapy for Varicose Veins
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive technique that is ideal for removing small or medium surface varicose veins. Undertaken under local anesthetic and guided by ultrasound imagery a special compound is injected into the vein, ultimately causing closure of the abnormal and diseased vein. Over several weeks following injection, the vein is gradually absorbed by the body, improving the appearance of the leg and reducing the discomfort which varicose veins can often cause. Sclerotherapy is non-invasive and the procedure normally takes approximately 15-20 minutes. There is no restriction to your normal activities after the injections. Use of compression stockings for several days following sclerotherapy is recommended but not mandatory. This is a safe intervention that consistently produces good results, with minimal risk of side-effects.
Microphlebectomy for Varicose Veins
If the surface varicose veins are not amenable to sclerotherapy treatment, the next option for treating medium or large varicose veins may be microphlebectomy. Undertaken under local anesthesia, a microphlebectomy involves removing the vein through a series of small cuts. The cuts are made with a scalpel, and then the vein removed in sections, using a phlebectomy hook. This is a “walk in, walk out” procedure; within two to three weeks patients should able to resume their normal activities. Use of compression stockings and pressure bandages following the procedure for two to three weeks is recommended.
Surgical Ligation and Vein Stripping, Varicose Vein Removal
Traditionally, patients diagnosed with venous insufficiency and venous reflux disease would be treated with vein stripping surgery, requiring a long return to work and recovery time. If the larger veins of the leg are varicose (particularly the Great Saphenous vein), our team may recommend a surgical ligation and stripping procedure. Due to the size of the vein and the amount of time the procedure takes (usually between one and one-and-a-half hours), the procedure is usually performed under general anesthetic or using spinal anesthesia (an epidural). During the procedure, a small incision is made at the top and bottom of the vein. A wire is then passed down the length of the vein and tied on. The wire is then used to pull the vein out through the bottom incision. Patients usually need to rest for a few days after surgery and the wounds may take three or four weeks to heal.
Open surgical treatment for venous insufficiency is rarely performed today and it may become obsolete in the near future.
Our Los Angeles Practice Can Advise on Compression Therapy Treatment for Varicose Veins
A conservative varicose vein treatment, compression aids the venous system to keep blood moving back to the heart, reducing the risk of the pooling that leads to varicose veins. As an initial intervention, or in cases where surgical varicose vein treatment isn’t appropriate, fitting a customized compression stocking can make a noticeable difference to the symptoms varicose veins present. It may be used on its own, or as an additional intervention alongside surgical approaches. For compression treatment to work, patients will need to wear compression stockings continuously during the day. Compression stockings are available in a variety of sizes, colors and gauges (thickness), enabling patients to enjoy a tailored treatment that’s specifically geared to their requirements. If you’re not sure whether you want to undergo a more invasive procedure, or want a treatment that will start working immediately, compression stockings are often a cost-effective and helpful solution.