Varicose vein treatment: A permanent solution?
As we get older, all of our body systems are subject to a little wear and tear. One of the more visible signs of our vascular system, earning a badge of honor is varicose and spider veins.
These veins commonly show up in our legs as we age and also as a result of life markers like pregnancy and sometimes injury.
Many years in a job on your feet all the time, or conversely, in a job sitting at a desk all the time also take a toll on our veins, creating bumpy tracks in the calves or spidery tendrils on the thighs, for example.
When considering vein repair, it’s essential to evaluate several options for treatment as well as undertaking a few lifestyle changes to maintain the health and aesthetic of all your veins.
At Metro Vein Clinic, we are dedicated to providing you with leading-edge treatments for your best health as well as your best look. Call us today for a free varicose vein screening!
How are veins unique?
Generally speaking, arteries carry blood away from the heart each time the heart pumps and have thick muscular walls to withstand the higher pressure the heart exerts as it pumps blood out to our body systems.
Veins, however, carry blood back to the heart and feature thinner walls and a series of one-way valves that work in conjunction with your surrounding leg and arm muscles to “massage” the blood in the veins back to the heart against the pull of gravity.
If a valve in a vein becomes weakened or “leaky,” blood pools in that section of a vein and creates a noticeable bump just below the skin. The more valves in a part of vein break down, the larger and sometimes more painful the bump gets.
There are several treatment options to reduce the appearance and distressing symptoms of varicose veins.
Common vein treatments
Gone are the days of the burdensome surgical “vein stripping” procedures of years past. Today, we use four low-or non-invasive techniques that allow for minimal downtime and maximum “closure rates” (meaning the veins we collapse stay closed for years to come.) They are:
- Radiofrequency Ablation: Our varicose vein doctors insert a catheter into the affected vein under local anesthesia, and apply heat within the vein as they slowly remove the catheter. The heat closes the diseased vein, and your blood re-routes to other healthy veins in the same body region.
- Echo Sclerotherapy: Your doctor uses an ultrasound machine to guide a chemical injection into the vein, the chemical “strips” the vein by destroying the lining of the vessel and closing it off.
- Visual Sclerotherapy: Your doctor performs the same chemical procedure as in Echo Sclerotherapy, except no ultrasound guidance is needed as the veins treated with this procedure are visible on the skin.
- Compression: Compression garments are used after any vein treatment procedure, and can also provide symptom relief before or in place of a procedure. We carry an extensive variety of garments to offer optimal benefits from compression from ankle to thigh and beyond, including activewear compression gear.
What can I expect after treatment?
All of our procedures are minimally invasive and have the benefit of little to no downtime. You could return to work the same day after some procedures. However, your after-care plan requires compression garments and regular walking; 30-45 minutes per day.
Your compression garment will stay on the treated area morning and evening for the first few days after your ablation and then during the day only for a total of 21 days.
You may also experience bruising or soreness in the treated area for several days after the procedure. Another rare side effect is numbness in the treated region.
At Metro Vein Clinic, only about .01 percent of our patients have experienced numbness as a side effect of Radiofrequency, which is lower than the national average.
Are there other risks involved in vein ablation?
Though modern vein ablation is generally safe and free of complication, there is a small risk of developing DVT after your procedure. DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is an infrequent side effect of vein ablation, and your risk for DVT returns to normal 2-4 weeks post-procedure.
A thrombosis is a large clot in a deep vein in the leg that can travel to your lungs and cause potentially life-threatening harm. DVT is a serious condition that requires immediate medical care. The signs and symptoms of DVT are as follows:
- Calf tenderness
- Heat or redness in the leg
- Feeling discomfort when flexing or pointing the foot
- Bluish color to the leg
- Leg swelling
You can further minimize your risk for developing DVT in the few weeks following vein ablation by:
- Walking 30 minutes per day
- Changing position frequently during the day (i.e., refrain from sitting or standing for long periods
- Postpone long air flights until several weeks after your ablation
Long-term closure rates
Our patients love their vein ablation results, and often wonder how long they will last after the procedure. Though the veins we close typically do not open up again, there is a chance that more spider and varicose veins may show up under your skin as time goes by.
It’s essential to look at your lifestyle, precisely your activity level when trying to minimize the chance of recurrent vein problems. We recommend getting a variety of activities each day so that you are not sitting or standing for long periods.
If your job requires you to sit or stand for extended periods, look for ways to break the cycle, little by little. Remind yourself to get up out of your chair and walk down the hall or to the bathroom every hour.
If you stand a lot for your job, try a small step stool that you can rest one foot at a time, or do some gentle stretching and moving a few times per hour if possible.
At Metro Vein Clinic, we are dedicated to providing the best vascular outcomes after our procedures. Be sure to visit our website and schedule a free vein evaluation today!