Varicose Veins Treatment
Varicose veins are common in both men and women. They can appear as early as your 20s and are a problem for several reasons: they are unattractive, they cause symptoms, and they lead to complications. Venous disease is a spectrum of problems from spider veins up to large, bulging varicose veins. The underlying cause is the same: weak valves in the vessels that fail and lead to dilation. If this happens in a tiny vessel, you get a spider vein, or telangiectasia, and in a larger vein, a varicosity (varicose vein). Once they appear, they will not go away without treatment.
What Should First Be Done Before Considering Vein Treatment
The patient should have a proper vein evaluation, which may include a relevant history and physical, and a duplex ultrasound examination. These tests evaluate such factors as:
- Are the varicose veins the main problem, or are they connected to other veins that may need to be treated first?
- Are there clots in the superficial or deep veins which may need to be addressed?
- What are the treatment options?
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
This specialized treatment uses a duplex ultrasound to locate, visualize and inject deeper veins in the legs. These veins are commonly the source of flow to varicose veins and are the vessels removed in venous surgery, known as “stripping”.
This treatment is an alternative to this surgery and closes these vessels off without incisions or scars. It is a 30 minute office procedure needing a little bit of local anesthetic only. It is very effective on veins up to 7mm in diameter.
Our patients leave the office wearing a compression stocking.
The most common and effective treatment for small veins is Sclerotherapy. It involves tiny injections of medication into the problem vessels. The medication causes the inside of these vessels to become “sticky” and then the walls stick together (sclerose) and the vessel closes off and disappears. This happens in the first 1-2 weeks after injection. Sclerotherapy can be used for vessels as tiny as 0.5mm. Although the most common area to have sclerotherapy is the legs, it can be performed for facial or torso vessels.
This form of treatment is safe and effective. It has been used for more that 100 years and is still considered the gold standard.
Symptoms of Venous Disease
Symptoms vary from itch (common with spider veins), to dull aching, throbbing, heaviness or restlessness. Often the symptoms of venous disease can be the same as Restless Legs Syndrome.