Varicose veins — large, visible, dilated and bulging veins in the lower legs — might discourage some people from donning a pair of shorts. But beyond vanity, these veins can cause pain, fatigue and serious health problems, such as blood clots and infections. Fortunately, non-invasive treatments can eliminate these veins and the problems they present.
Unlike vein stripping, a conventional surgical procedure done under general anesthesia, the newer techniques use lasers and micro incisions. They are done under local anesthesia in the surgeon’s office in and patients can resume normal activity immediately. For most patients, the procedures are covered by insurance or Medicare.
While varicose veins cannot be cured entirely they can be managed with these non-invasive treatments. If you’re experiencing symptoms with your varicose veins, it may be time to consider treatment. You’ll look and feel better.
Here’s how it works:
Typically, treatment is a two-step process: Endovenous laser ablation (closure), which eliminates varicose veins at the source, is followed about one week later by mini-phlebectomy, which eliminates the residual or smaller veins, creating a more pleasing appearance. Each procedure takes approximately one hour.
During endovenous laser treatment, a thin fiber is inserted into the damaged vein through a very small incision. Targeted laser energy is emitted through the fiber which causes the vein to close and seal shut. Healthy veins around the closed vein maintain the normal flow of blood out of the leg. Tiny veins on the surface of the skin that are connected to the treated varicose vein will usually shrink after treatment.
The mini-phlebectomy is used to treat remaining tributary varicose veins (veins that branch from the main varicose vein). The veins are removed through multiple, micro incisions (1-3 mm diameter) along the course of the varicose vein. The procedure can be done either independently or after laser treatment.
The endovenous laser treatment has a 98 percent closure rate.
There may be minor soreness and bruising. Some people describe a “pulling” sensation. Discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers as needed.
The wounds are so small that they are hardly visible after three to six months.
Varicose veins that are treated with the laser and mini-phlebectomy will not reoccur. However, new veins may develop in their place over time.
Endo and mini-phlebectomy are exciting modes of therapy for the treatment of varicose veins. Click here for more information, or call 316-609-4440.
Facts about varicose veins
Varicose veins affect one in two people age 50 and older, and almost 80 percent of them are women.
They are the result of weak leg valves. The valves in a normal leg vein prevent the blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the leg back to the heart. When these valves become weak, blood can leak back into the leg veins and collect there. Pooled blood enlarges the veins and makes them varicose and painful.
- Aging process
- Family history of vein problems — if one parent has the condition, you have a 60 percent chance of developing varicose veins. If both parents have them, your odds jump to 80 percent.
- Hormonal changes — pregnancy, estrogen supplements such as birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
- Leg injury
- Prolonged sitting or standing
- Aching, throbbing, burning or tingling sensations made worse by standing
- Easily fatigued legs
- Heaviness or swelling of the legs
- Skin changes, rashes and occasionally non-healing sores
- Severe cases can cause blood clots and infections