Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic problem
Spider veins are a cosmetic problem that can spoil the appearance of your face and legs. On their own, however, spider veins don’t cause pain or pose a risk to your health.
The same can’t be said for varicose veins. Varicose veins can be painful and achy, make your legs feel heavy, and cause muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs. Varicose veins can also lead to serious problems.
When you have varicose veins, blood doesn’t flow back to your heart normally. Instead, old blood is trapped in the vein and can seep into nearby tissues. The blood pressure inside the affected vein also increases. These problems lead to complications such as:
- Stasis dermatitis (red, scaly, itchy skin)
- Venous stasis ulcers (non-healing wounds on your leg)
- Lipodermatosclerosis (thick, discolored skin that’s painful, inflamed, and itchy)
- Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in a deep leg vein)
Eliminating varicose veins prevents these complications, which makes treatment to eliminate them more than a cosmetic procedure. Instead, it’s a medical procedure that happens to give you the great benefit of making your legs look better.
How we banish unsightly veins
Not long ago, the only way to get rid of varicose veins was a surgical procedure called vein stripping. Today, we offer several minimally invasive options that are all done in the office using a local anesthetic:
During sclerotherapy, we inject a medication that makes the vein walls collapse and close. Then the treated area turns into scar tissue that your body naturally removes.
Sclerotherapy is the primary treatment for spider veins, and it also works well for varicose veins. For small veins, we inject liquid medication. For larger varicose veins, we use a foam medication that expands inside the veins to effectively treat the surface of the vein walls.
Endovenous ablation is a procedure in which we use ultrasound imaging to see your veins and to guide a narrow catheter through the blood vessels to the targeted varicose vein. The catheter is inserted through a nick in your skin that’s so small it doesn’t need stitches and doesn’t leave a scar.
Once the catheter is at the targeted varicose vein, radiofrequency energy is used to heat the vein, making the walls close and sealing it shut. Just like sclerotherapy, scar tissue forms and it’s eliminated by your body.
For tortuous veins close to the surface, we may recommend a microphlebectomy, also known as ambulatory phlebectomy. During a microphlebectomy, we make pinhole-sized incisions and use a special tool to tease the veins out through the opening.
The biggest difference between this and other vein treatments is that your veins are physically removed, so you don’t have to wait for your body to clear away the treated veins.