For most patients, spider veins are a cosmetic rather than a medical issue. The gold standard of treatment for eliminating them is the use of sclerosing agents. Vein specialists can also destroy some small and mid-size varicose veins using ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy vein treatment.
How Sclerotherapy Works
Ultrasound is also an important tool for examining a patient and confirming that a sclerosing agent would be effective. For vein destruction, the physician injects a sclerosing agent, also known as a sclerosant, into each targeted vessel.
This substance irritates vein walls, causing the vessel to scar, close, and ultimately disappear. Neighboring veins assume its former circulatory duties. The number of procedures and the number of injections per session vary. Both depend on the size and the number of vessels to eliminate.
What Patients Can Expect from a Treatment
The path toward destruction of spider or certain varicose veins begins with a consultation with a vein doctor. This specialist conducts a physical exam, evaluates the individual’s medical history, and orders any helpful tests. Once the physician has determined that the patient is a good candidate for this outpatient procedure, the staff will schedule it.
According to the Mayo Clinic, preparation is fairly simple. Most patients prefer to wear loose, comfortable clothing such as a pair of shorts. When the targeted area is a leg, an individual should avoid shaving it or putting any lotion on it for at least 24 hours before treatment.
After the vein clinic staff helps the patient into the proper position on a table, they systematically clean each targeted area. The individual lies on his back with his legs somewhat elevated. Using a very fine needle, the physician then injects the sclerosing agent into each abnormal vein.
Many sclerosants now contain local anesthetic. This makes the use of general anesthesia unnecessary.
After treating each vein, the physician massages the skin around it. Providing compression helps disperse the sclerosing agent and prevent blood from entering the treated area.
The staff helps patients get up and begin to walk as soon as they can after treatment. Physical movement is important in preventing blood clots. Most individuals report very little discomfort during the procedure beyond some stinging or cramping at needle insertion.
Patients consider treatment with a sclerosing agent convenient because of how little time the treatment takes and its short recovery period. Typically, another adult provides a ride home after this procedure. Most patients pick up their normal daily routine the same day, except for any strenuous activity. The physician will specify how long it is necessary to wear compression stockings.
The Radiological Society of North America, Inc. reports that temporary side effects might include brown discolorations, bruises, or areas that are red and raised. Vein doctors can destroy as many as 80-percent of targeted vessels in one session.
Contact us to learn more about our vein treatment solutions or to schedule a consultation.
While the major concern of some patients with varicose veins is a cosmetic one, these abnormal vessels mean health problems and medical complications for others. One vein treatment option for eliminating these troublesome veins is an ambulatory phlebectomy. Understanding what the procedure entails helps reduce patient stress once a vein specialist has recommended this therapy.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy Overview
An ambulatory phlebectomy goes by multiple names. Healthcare professionals might refer to it as a mini-phlebectomy, stab phlebectomy, micropuncture, microphlebectomy, or simply a phlebectomy.
When the most conservative treatments fail to control varicose veins, a vein doctor typically advises eliminating troublesome vessels. Instead of destroying these veins and allowing the body to absorb them, an ambulatory phlebectomy removes them from the individual.
Vein doctors consider this outpatient treatment a minimally invasive option for varicose veins. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is typically the therapy of choice for small vessels close to the skin’s surface.
A vein specialist removes targeted veins under conscious sedation through very small skin punctures. This results in minimal or even no scarring. VCU Health™ reports that each session takes as long as two hours. Individuals with an extended network of problem veins might require multiple sessions, however.
Ambulatory phlebectomies are successful more than 90 percent of the time. When an individual has been deemed a good candidate for the procedure, doctors consider long-term results excellent.
What to Expect at the Vein Clinic
Vein clinics recommend that patients scheduled for an ambulatory phlebectomy arrive in loose, comfortable clothing. Once the clinic staff has cleaned the identified treatment areas and numbed them, the surgeon proceeds by making tiny incisions with a needle or a scalpel near each problem vein, according to the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. The physician then uses a phlebectomy hook, which looks like a crochet hook, to pull out each targeted vein.
Patients require no stitches because the incisions used are so small. Complaints of pain are very rare.
Once the surgeon completes an ambulatory phlebectomy, the staff places a compression wrap on each treated leg. Afterward, the patient must wear compression stockings for the period the doctor advises. Usually, this is a few weeks.
Most patients are able to resume their normal daily routines the following day but must refrain from any unusually strenuous activity noted in the instructions the surgeon provides. This prohibition typically lasts for around two weeks.
Vein doctors now use vein stripping, once the traditional way to eliminate varicose vessels, only for severe problems. One important benefit of the ambulatory phlebectomy procedure is that physicians can combine it with several other types of varicose vein treatments. One type of therapy is endovenous laser treatment, which typically takes an hour or less. Sclerotherapy, another outpatient option, destroys spider veins but is also useful for eliminating small varicose veins.
For more information about these procedures, contact our offices to schedule a consultation.
For some people, varicose veins are a source of embarrassment. For many others, however, these abnormal blood vessels represent discomfort and a significant medical issue. When conservative measures such as shedding excess pounds and wearing compression stockings fail to cause sufficient improvement, a vein specialist often recommends eliminating troublesome veins. One of the newest and most popular varicose vein treatment options is the convenient VenaSeal™ closure system.
Varicose Vein Treatment Overview
Almost everyone knows someone who suffers from varicose veins. According to Stony Brook University, these troublesome blood vessels develop in more than 30 million Americans between 18 and 70. Females face twice the risk of developing this disorder than males do.
The legs are the most common site of these bulging, ropelike blue or purple veins. They develop when vessels dilate because of pressure from blood that pools behind defective valves. Symptoms range from aching and discomfort to pain, swelling, itching, skin discoloration, and ulcers.
For decades, the standard method of eliminating varicose veins was surgical stripping. Vein specialists seldom use this extreme procedure today. Among effective current methods are thermal ablation, microphlebectomy, endovenous non-thermal ablation, Varithena®, and VenaSeal™. In some cases, sclerotherapy, the so-called gold standard for eliminating spider veins, is appropriate for small varicose veins. All are outpatient procedures.
How the VenaSeal™ Closure System Works
VenaSeal™ relies on the use of medical glue to seal off defective veins. It is the only treatment available that does not rely on heat or a sclerosing agent to destroy varicose vessels. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved this therapy in 2015.
The system targets veins that cause problems and that lie close to a patient’s skin. Its components include a catheter, syringes, dispenser gun, dispenser tips, guide wire, and an adhesive.
Using ultrasound imaging as a guide, a vein specialist inserts a catheter into the targeted vein. This facilitates passage of the adhesive, a clear liquid that turns into a solid, into the diseased vessel. Use of this system permanently treats abnormal veins when the adhesives seal them.
VenaSeal™ manufacturer Medtronic notes that patients might experience stinging when the physician uses a needle to numb the treatment site and some pressure with catheter placement. As the doctor positions the catheter in specific spots along the vein, sensing some mild tugging or pulling is normal.
Following the procedure, the physician removes the catheter and places a bandage over the insertion site. After a rest in a recovery area, patients receive a summary of the treatment and physician orders for recovery. They are normally able to return home the same day.
While a number of effective therapies eliminate varicose veins, no treatment is able to prevent new ones from developing. For this reason, some patients opt to return periodically for treatment when new varicose vessels form.
Interested in learning more? Contact our office today get answers to your questions or to schedule a consultation.
Cosmetic Issues Associated with Varicose and Spider Veins
Varicose veins and spider veins are never a welcome sight. These unsightly monsters can add years to skin that otherwise appears smooth, even, and youthful. Thick and bulging, varicose veins often stick out above the surface of the skin in garish colors ranging from a bruised red to a deep blue.
Although they are smaller and rarely protrude, spider veins are not much better. Spreading out in spindly networks that often resemble cobwebs, these networks of diseased veins can cover large areas of skin.
For cosmetic reasons alone, it is a small wonder that people are increasingly taking advantage of the full range of treatment options that a modern vein doctor can offer.
Medical Issues Associated with Varicose and Spider Veins
Both varicose and spider veins can be signs of a dangerous condition called venous insufficiency. In short, this means that your circuiting blood is failing to return to your heart in a healthy and natural manner, causing an inordinate amount of blood to pool in the lower extremities. In extreme cases, venous insufficiency can lead to loss of limb or even death.
Even varicose and spider veins that don’t present grave health threats can present some extremely unpleasant symptoms. Individuals who are living with these conditions often complain about issues that include:
- Sharp pain along the course of the affected vein
- Localized inflammation/swelling
- Localized itching
- Heavy or restless legs
- Vein tearing and/or bleeding during activities such as shaving
- Sores, wounds, and/or ulcers on the skin
Find a Vein Specialist
If you are concerned about your veins, it’s best to consult with a qualified vein doctor (or phlebologist) as soon as possible. These medical professionals have completed specialized training that goes far above and beyond that of a typical family doctor or general practitioner. In short, vein doctors have added to their general Doctor of Medicine (MD) or a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees with extensive educational and clinical practice that places you and your diseased veins in the best possible hands. Dr. Robert S. Westrol is both a fellowship-trained, board-certified interventional physician and a diplomate of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.
If you are near the greater Greer, South Carolina area and are concerned about varicose or spider veins, contact Dr. Westrol today. A skilled and knowledgeable vein treatment and vascular surgery professional is standing by to answer any questions that you might have about your various diagnosis and vein treatment options.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 percent of women and 40 percent of men in the US have a vein problem, such as varicose veins, according to the US Office on Women’s Health. Varicose veins often look like blue bulging veins just beneath the skin on the legs and on other areas of the body. While they might just be a cosmetic problem in many cases, they can have a negative effect on your self-esteem and can make you feel self-conscious about your appearance. The good news is that there are many ways to get rid of varicose veins. Here are a few common treatments:
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy
The treatment that is best for your varicose veins depends on the size of your veins and where they are located. Smaller or medium-sized varicose veins that are located deeper in the legs can be treated with ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. The vein specialist performing the procedure uses ultrasound imaging to find the veins below the surface of the skin. Then, those veins are injected with a special foam that causes them to collapse and seal. The collapsed veins then fade from view and are eventually reabsorbed by the body.
Varithena Microfoam is similar to sclerotherapy. The vein specialist gets rid of varicose veins by injecting the foam into the vein or by using a catheter to direct the foam to the vein. The foam fills up the vein, causing it to seal shut and fade from view.
While most treatments for varicose veins utilize a chemical or heat to cause the vein to collapse and ultimately be destroyed, VenaSeal takes a different approach to getting rid of the veins. It’s a type of adhesive that glues the veins closed. Blood isn’t able to flow through the sealed veins, so it is redirected to other vessels or capillaries in the area. VenaSeal is less likely to cause bruising or pain in the treated area compared to other procedures.
Treating varicose veins with ClariveinIC involves using a very small catheter to distribute a medicine that causes the veins to seal shut and collapse. The catheter is inserted into the vein using a very tiny needle. A local anesthetic is used at the start of the treatment to improve your comfort.
ClosureFast uses radiofrequency energy, or heat, to get rid of problem veins. The heat from the treatment causes the affected veins to collapse and ultimately disappear. A vein specialist will use local anesthesia with the treatment to help patients feel more comfortable.
In some cases, surgical removal of varicose veins is the best option. During ambulatory phlebectomy, a surgeon makes small incisions in the skin, around the area where the veins are. He then uses small hooks to gently remove the appropriate veins. Ambulatory phlebectomy works best on veins that are near the surface of the skin.