Among the various types of vein issues that afflict the human body, varicose veins are among the most problematic due to their unsightly appearance along with the health issues that they pose.
Swollen, twisted, and distended, varicose veins typically present on a person?s legs, although they can appear on other parts of the body. Due to their position on the legs, varicose veins rapidly increase in pressure when a person comes to a standing position. As such, those suffering from varicose veins commonly find work and activities involving being on the feet to be nearly impossible for any sustainable amount of time.
Over time, varicose veins can culminate in maladies such as venous eczema, lipodermatosclerosis, ulceration, and increased swelling. While not life -threatening, varicose veins are exceedingly painful as well as aesthetically troubling for those that it afflicts.
In today?s contemporary times, there is a wide array of treatments for those suffering from varicose veins. Treatments include surgical and non-surgical options alike, with new developments in medicine providing patients with all-new options for long-term relief.
Read on below to learn more about the many treatments available today for varicose veins.
Non-Surgical Treatments for Varicose Veins
There is an immense number of non-surgical treatments for varicose veins available today. Widely preferred by a majority of patients, these non-surgical treatments are non-invasive, do not require cutting of the skin, and offer sustainable relief from pain, work to reduce swelling, and can potentially reduce the unsightly appearance of the veins over time.
Non-surgical treatments for varicose veins include the following:
- Sclerotherapy dismantles varicose veins via a sclerosant-based injection that forces a rerouting of blood to healthier, more robust veins. Through this process, the human body will ultimately destroy the impaired veins.
- Radiofrequency Ablation utilizes radio waves (radiofrequency energy) and passes them through the walls of impacted veins. During this process, the vein is fully numbed and an ultrasound device is used to inspect the inner parts of the leg. Finally, a wire-material catheter is positioned parallel to the vein to apply consistently even radiofrequency energy along the length of the vein. The result is a vein wall that increases in temperature, thickens and then contracts to eventually become absorbed by the body.
- Endovenous Laser Ablation
Laser ablation is similar to radiofrequency ablation, with the exception of the use of laser-based energy as opposed to radiofrequency energy. The process involves the insertion of laser fibers into the catheter, with heated laser energy causing impacted vessels to close, shrink, and ultimately be absorbed by the body. Radiofrequency and laser therapy are often used to treat the deeper veins of the leg.
Who Should Receive Non-Surgical Vein Treatments?
Not all varicose veins are created equal. Nor do all varicose veins require visits to a healthcare professional. For many people afflicted with varicose vein issues, simple at-home treatments can be highly effective.
Simple At-Home Treatments for Vein Issues
- Losing weight
- Sitting or laying down with legs elevated
- Wearing compression socks or stockings
If the regular practice of self-care treatments remain insufficient for alleviating the pain and appearance of veins, non-invasive treatments may ultimately be recommended by a doctor, particularly if any of the following are present:
- The appearance of the veins on the legs is worsening or causing emotional distress
- You are experiencing cramping or pain
- Your body is frequently forming blood clots
- There are occurrences of phlebitis
- There are formations of sores or ulcers
- The fatty tissue just under the surface of your skin begins to harden to the veins blood pressure (referred to as lipodermatosclerosis)
Surgical Treatment for Varicose Veins
In earlier times of vein-related surgical methods, a process called vein stripping was commonly employed. Also commonly referred to as avulsion, ablation, or litigation, the procedure involved the pulling out of veins after making micro incisions to accommodate the removal.
However, advances in medicine have resulted in the development of new technologies to remove varicose veins with significantly less invasive methods that are far preferred by most doctors.
Even so, vein stripping remains an essential surgical procedure appropriate for many patients who meet a specific set of criteria.
The formation of varicose veins relies on the malfunctioning of the valves in the leg or thigh veins. Typically present with single-direction valves preventing the flow of blood to the heart, veins that are not functioning correctly result in the collection of blood in the vein, rendering it painful, swollen, and in need of immediate treatment.
Who Should Receive Vein Treatment Surgery?
According to Johns Hopkins University Medical Center, patients may require endovenous laser varicose vein surgery if varicose veins are sore, or red and swollen (inflamed). Laser surgery may also be recommended if the skin over varicose veins is irritated.
Candidates for varicose vein stripping are able to have their damaged veins removed expeditiously via surgical treatment and can expect a minuscule chance of recurrence.
Current studies indicate that the laser ablation surgical procedure for varicose veins has an impressive 96% success rate after ten years due to the fact that the vein treatment helps prevent them from returning.
Doctors may also end up recommending vein stripping under the following conditions:
- The presence of skin sores
- The formation of ulcers
- Bleeding veins
- Constant throbbing pain in the legs
- Tenderness in the impacted area
- The discovery of blood clots
Varicose veins are a common condition affecting more than three million people in the United States each year. Resulting from the malfunctioning of veins in the legs and thighs, varicose veins are enlarged, twisted, and gnarled, resulting in immense pain and discomfort for nervous patients.
Advances in medicine have brought forth additional treatments for varicose veins. Whereas patients were limited to invasive vein stripping options in years past, today they are able to choose from an array of non-surgical, non-invasive treatments and therapies.
Improving the appearance and often ameliorating the unbearable pain associated with these damaged veins, the array of non-invasive options are far preferred by most doctors and their patients.
Regardless of the treatment method of choice, patients can rest assured that their varicose veins can be removed safely and quickly with little to no risk involved.
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