Which varicose vein treatment is best for you?
Varicose veins are not fun to have, as they can be painful but not so attractive to look at either. By the age of 60 over 60 percent of women and 45 percent of men have either spider or varicose veins. Unfortunately varicose veins disease is under diagnosed and under treated leading to long term problems for many patients.
There are several reasons for a delay in referral and treatment for vein disease.
- First the symptoms can be the subtle and confused with other conditions.
- Second, many physicians have little training or understanding of the impact of vein problems on quality of life.
- And third many patients have seen family or friends have poor results from treatment with the ‘old methods’.
Often the patient must rely of self recognition so it is important to understand some of the symptoms. If you see bulging veins on your legs or the appearance of spider veins then this is obvious. However, the symptoms of vein disease can be more subtle. Varicose veins can cause swelling, leg cramps, aching and burning sensation or heaviness in your legs. Not so subtle changes include – skin discoloration especially in the lower leg or ankle, hardening of the skin, and even ulceration. If you have any of these symptoms you should seek medical help especially if you legs become swollen, tender or acutely painful.
Fortunately there are effective options for treating both spider and varicose veins. The treatment of spider veins is a cosmetic concern in most all cases. However, most patients with spider veins have some underlying varicose veins that should be treated first to ensure the best results in both symptoms improvement and cosmetic appearance.
Depending on the underlying cause of your vein problems your phlebologist (physician who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients with varicose and spider veins) can provide options for treatment.
Some of the treatments options include:
- Sclerotherapy for Spider Veins: The Gold Standard
- Skin Laser for Spider Veins: An emerging technology
- Endovenous Therapy: Radiofrequency or Laser—Replaced stripping.
- Phlebectomy: Minimally invasive method of eliminating unsightly varicose veins.
Your vein specialists or phlebologist can determine which one is best for you after a simple and painless in office evaluation.
Varicose Vein Treatment Options
In late 1999 and early 2000 the world of phlebology (the treatment of varicose and spider veins) was turned upside down with the introduction of the first FDA approved minimally invasive treatment for the underlying cause of varicose veins: reflux or reversal of flow in the superficial veins in the legs.
Endovenous Radio-frequency for treating Varicose Veins
The endovenous radio-frequency ‘Closure’ catheter was the first to be approved as an alternative to vein stripping. Dr Harper who already had an established phlebology practice recognized the major advance offer by this technology and was the first in Georgia to perform and endovenous procedure in early 2000.
About 18 months later the FDA approved the first ‘laser’ for endovenous therapy. Both the radio-frequency catheter and the laser fiber delivered heat energy to the ‘bad’ vein sealing it shut and preventing further reflux down that vein. Effectively eliminating the ‘leak in the roof’ or underlying cause of the visible varicose veins.
Endovenous therapies today are still performed either with radiofrequency engery and laser energy. There are many proprietary names which have become household terms for these types of treatments including: RF Closure, Venofit an EVLT. These treatments are out patient, done under local anesthesia with minimal discomfort, effective and well accepted by patients and phlebologist alike as an alternative to vein stripping..
Microphlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the phlebologist to remove the large bulging varicose veins which developed as a result of the refluxing vein which are treated with the endovenous techniques noted above. Unfortunately, many of these bulging veins have been damage and will not return to normal even if the reflux is corrected. Phlebectomy is an outpatient procedure done at the time of the endovenous procedure or in some setting at a later procedure. Done under a gentle local anesthetic the bulging veins are removed thorough tiny micro incisions or needle punctures allowing quick recovery and pleasing cosmetic results.
Your phlebologist or vein specialists will quide you in choosing the treatment option that is best for you. The treatment of varicose veins is covered by most private insurance and Medicare. However, the treatment for spider veins is typically considered cosmetic. Your insurance company contract will specify the details for your policy for vein treatment and our office can help you determine your benefits.
If you have leg symptoms, see varicose veins and spider veins on your legs, have a family history of bad veins or an occupation where you stand or sit a lot go ahead go ahead and start your journey today for better legs. Call today (800) 764-3280 for an evaluation and ask about our “Healthy Legs for Life” principles.