Varicose veins develop when the one-way valve system that helps to move blood from the lower extremities to the heart is damaged. Blood will begin to pool inside the veins and cause unsightly blue and red tinged bulges as well as discomfort, pain and swelling. They occur most commonly on the legs but individuals can suffer from these swollen veins in the face, testicles, vagina and anus. Although they are not usually as threat to your long-term health, they can be painful and can cause ulcerations in the legs.
One treatment option is an endovenous ablation. The goal of the procedure is to shut down the vein using targeted heat energy. The heat can be created with a laser, also known as an endovenous laser ablation or with radio frequency is, known as a radiofrequency ablation. Both of these use the latest technologies and are a better option than vein stripping which was used for decades.
The vein stripping procedure often was painful and was invasive. Both ablation procedures, using either laser or radio frequency, are minimally invasive and highly effective. They can be performed in the office setting with just local anesthetic. For a variety of different medical reasons only one large vein should be treated at a time using laser ablation. If you have more than one vein that must be addressed it is the best be done two to three weeks apart at different sessions.
These ablation therapies can be done within less than an hour and performed in the doctors office. Most physicians report a success rate of 98% or greater and individuals often report an immediate relief of their symptoms. Because it is minimally invasive it also requires no general anesthesia or hospitalization and most people are able to return to their normal activities immediately. Another advantage to endovenous laser ablation is that there are also no scars left, as opposed to vein stripping which left large scar tissue over the legs.
People will undergo this procedure may find that they have some pain and tenderness as well is some slight bruising at the point of entry of the catheter. The chance of subdermal bruising and burst capillaries are negligible. However, since there is a slight break in the skin where the catheter is inserted, there is also a slight chance of infection.
Although the procedure is usually not prescribed for cosmetic reasons alone, because insurance companies will not cover it, it is more commonly used to help alleviate symptoms such as aching pain, swelling, skin irritation or sores, discoloration and venous inflammation (phlebitis).
During the procedure, if the laser is used, the patient is asked to wear protective glasses. The area of the leg will be cleaned, shaved and numbed. The patient feels a slight pressure when the catheter is inserted but shouldn’t feel more pain. After the procedure the patient must wear a compression stocking to reducing bruising, tenderness and minimize the possibility that blood clots will form.
The process works when a laser or radio frequency is inserted through the length of the vein. The machine generates heat and burns the interior of the vein as it is retracted. This causes the vein to scar, tighten and shrink until it is invisible through the skin. And, although the valves continue to be non-functional the vein no longer swells and pain disappears.
There are several different options for treatment for varicose veins. So, before making a choice do your research and determine which procedure will work best in your lifestyle, with your overall health concerns and your willingness to do follow-up care. Only you and your physician can determine what will work best for you.
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