Varicose Vein Laser Treatment
Eliminate unsightly varicose veins at the source. The twisted bulging that causes discomfort results from faulty valves in the veins. Laser treatment is the most advanced technology available today to treat these unsightly, uncomfortable veins.
Why Varicose Veins Occur
As blood flows through your veins to the heart, stop valves are supposed to prevent the blood from flowing backwards as gravity pulls it down. If the valves don’t close properly, blood pools in the vein, forcing the walls to enlarge and bulge out.
Varicose veins occur when the valves in these superficial veins malfunction. The vein walls can lose elasticity (due to age or hormones) causing them to stretch. When this occurs, the valve may be unable to close, allowing blood that should be moving towards the heart to flow backward (called venous reflux). Blood collects in your lower veins causing them to enlarge and become varicose. In this manner, faulty valves high on the leg may cause varicose veins lower down (e.g., mid or lower leg).
Symptoms of Varicose Veins
- Bulging veins typically apparent behind the knee, calf and ankle
- Aching pain
- Swelling or fatigue in the legs
- Skin changes, including ulcers
If you experience symptoms and delay treatment, your symptoms may progress onward to more serious complications including:
- Inflammation (phlebitis)
- Blood clots (e.g., DVT)
- Ankle sores or skin ulcers
Diagnosing Varicose Veins
The radiologist will assess blood flow through the veins and confirm incompetence of the valves with ultrasound. This technique is painless and non-invasive.
During the procedure, a laser fiber is used to deliver energy to the faulty vein and close it so that blood can no longer flow through it. The result is immediate reduction of the bulging vein. Walking and normal daily activity are encourage after the procedure, though rigorous activity should be avoided for 2 weeks. There may be minor soreness and bruising, which can be easily relieved with over-the-counter non-aspirin pain relievers. Most patients will require Sclerotherapy after the procedure to treat the smaller varicose veins. The procedure is performed in the physician’s office and takes about an hour. Like any minimally invasive procedure, laser treatment can potentially result in some minor bruising, which usually goes away during the first several weeks.
With this procedure, you will feel a “pulling” sensation as well as delayed tightness about 4 to 7 days after the varicose vein treatment procedure is completed. These side effects are normal and are expected after a successful treatment procedure.
When medically necessary for symptom relief, laser treatment is usually reimbursed by the majority of carriers, including Medicare – which limits cost for the patient. You should contact your insurer in order to obtain more details.
For more information about treatment options, please call: (760) 940-3685.
Sclerotherapy is the injection of a small amount of a chemical directly into the abnormal vein. The chemical irritates the inside lining of the vein, causing the vein to close. Sclerotherapy usually takes about 20 minutes per leg and is done in a doctor’s office. Typically, it is an effective treatment for smaller varicose veins and requires multiple treatments.
Choosing not to Treat Varicose Veins
If you choose to not treat your varicose veins, they will probably continue to slowly get worse over the years. Most people with severe varicose veins complain of symptoms that interfere with their comfort level. Severe progression of the disease can lead to ulcers in the lower leg due to chronic, excessive pressure in the varicose veins.
Advantages of Laser Vein Therapy include:
- Designed to be a 45-minute, office procedure
- Uses only local anesthetic
- High success rate (93-98%)
- No scarring
- No hospitalization
- Lower risk of complications
- Fast return to normal activities (normally 1-2 days)
- Reimbursable by most health insurance plans
Facts About Varicose Veins
Varicose veins affect an estimated 40% of women and 25% of men. There are a number of factors that lead to varicose veins, including:
- Heredity – One of the most important factors. If your parents and grandparents had the problem, you are at increased risk.
- Gender – Women have a higher incidence of varicose vein disease due in part to female hormones and their effect on the vein walls.
- Pregnancy – Blood volume increases during pregnancy and hormonal effects contribute to vein enlargement
- Age – The tissues of our vein walls lose elasticity as we age causing the valve system to fail.
The following additional factors, while not directly causing varicose veins, may speed up the development of this disease and make the veins worse:
- Prolonged standing – Occupations that involve standing for a long period of time cause increased volume and pressure of blood in the lower limbs due to the effects of gravity.
- Obesity – Increases in weight often increase abdominal pressure which may worsen vein problems
- Hormone levels – Treatments like birth control pills and post-menopausal hormone replacement may cause the same hormonal effect as pregnancy
- Physical Trauma – Injury to the lower limbs can damage underlying blood vessels and add to the problem
Can varicose veins be prevented?
Certain measures may help relieve discomfort from existing varicose veins and prevent others from arising:
- Exercise regularly to improve leg strength and circulation (walking is ideal).
- Avoid standing for long periods of time.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time by taking short walks every 30 minutes. If possible, try to elevate your legs.
- Control weight to avoid placing increased pressure on leg circulation.
- Avoid clothing that limits the use of the calf muscles (e.g. high heels) or restricts blood flow in the groin or calf.