Have you avoided a trip to see a vein specialist because you’re afraid of an invasive, painful varicose vein removal procedure? Allow us to put your fears to rest. While vein stripping used to be the most common treatment option used for patients with varicose veins, your options have increased and improved dramatically in recent years. Learn about the new varicose vein ‘walk in, walk out’ treatment options available in our Middle Georgia Vein Specialists of the South vein clinics.
Varicose Vein Removal Misconceptions vs Reality
When you hear “vein removal,” you likely picture a surgeon operating on your leg veins in a hospital operating room under general anesthesia with a lengthy recovery period. The reality of varicose vein treatments, however, is much less dramatic for the majority of patients in the United States. This is thanks to advances in medical technology and improved treatment options in recent years.
Treatments today for varicose veins may not necessarily involve physically removing the affected veins. Instead, the underlying unhealthy veins are often closed off with heat energy (Radiofrequency or Laser energy) and are then absorbed by the body without the need for a more invasive procedure. Today’s minimally invasive procedures require little-to-no downtime, and are virtually pain free.
That being said, we do still perform one procedure that involves physically removing the affected veins called an Ambulatory Phlebectomy.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy vs Vein Stripping: Comparing Varicose Vein Removal Procedures
The comparison of phlebectomy and vein stripping is like comparing apples to oranges. Prior to the year 2000, vein stripping was the preferred method for treating the most common cause of vein disease: saphenous vein reflux. Other methods used for saphenous reflux have included injecting a sclerosing solution into the saphenous vein to scar the vein closed.
Over time, both stripping and saphenous vein sclerotherapy fell out of favor with vein specialists and patients because of an unacceptably high recurrence rate, the need for general or spinal anesthesia, and a slow recovery. In fact, a lot of patients with varicose veins delayed their treatment.
Forms of phlebectomy or the removal of bulging varicose veins have been described in medical literature for hundreds of years. However, in the 20th century advances in local anesthesia and micro-techniques brought ambulatory phlebectomy into the mainstream treatment for visible varicose veins. Your bulging varicose veins can now be removed under tumescent local anesthesia through small micro-incisions in a simple office setting with a quick recovery. When your procedure is complete, your vein specialists will use steri-strips to close the micro-incisions. Most patients return to work in a day or two with instructions to exercise and wear compression stockings.
Other Varicose Vein Treatment Options in Middle Georgia
At Vein Specialists of the South, we offer the latest in minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins with a “walk in, walk out” goal for patients. This means that our treatments are performed in our office without the need for a surgical center or general anesthesia. Treatments require only local anesthesia, and patients usually take a simple over-the-counter acetaminophen to minimize any post-procedure discomfort.
Heat, Foam, and Glue To Seal and “Remove” Varicose Veins
Instead of physically removing varicose veins, many patients benefit from treatments that use specialized heat, foam, or glue. The type of treatment we will recommend for you depends on your unique needs.
Endovenous Thermal Ablation uses heat from radiofrequency energy (RF) or laser energy (EVLT) to gently heat and seal the Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) or Short Saphenous Vein (SSV). These methods can correct the reversal of flow in the saphenous vein which feeds the nearby superficial veins causing bulging varicose veins and spider veins to develop. Once heated and sealed, the body will begin to absorb the vein and allow blood flow to continue through healthy remaining veins.
Sclerotherapy and Medical-Grade Adhesive
Varithena is a method of using a sclerotherapy agent to treat the refluxing saphenous veins. The new injectable foam sclerosant can be used to treat the saphenous reflux and surrounding varicose veins. The foam is injected under ultrasound guidance and irritates the lining of the vein, causing it to collapse and become reabsorbed by the body. Like the RF treatment, blood is automatically rerouted by the body through the remaining healthy veins. If Varithena is used as a stand alone procedure, numbing is only needed at the injection site of the sclerosant. Compression hose are required after Varithena. Occasionally ‘coagulum of old blood’ may need to be evacuated during the healing phase.
VenaSeal is a specialized venous glue which is delivered to the refluxing saphenous vein under ultrasound guidance. The medical grade adhesive immediately seals the vein shut. Like other saphenous vein treatments, blood is rerouted to healthy veins. Only a minimal amount of numbing is needed at the catheter insertion site. If no other therapies are needed at the time of the VenaSeal treatment, more local anesthetic during the procedure and post procedure compression may be needed. Typically, you can resume daily activities immediately after VenaSeal.
With each of the above minimally invasive treatments, limited local anesthesia is used at a single injection site. Patients typically require only a band-aid and acetaminophen following the treatment. While some aftercare instructions will vary, they are all very management. All of our “walk in, walk out” procedures allow you to return to normal daily activities quickly with little-to-no downtime.
Minimally Invasive and Virtually Pain Free Varicose Vein Removal in Middle Georgia
Is varicose vein removal painful? With the newer techniques and gentle local anesthesia, treatments are practically pain-free. Our minimally invasive, gentle approach to treatment allow you to leave the same day and return to normal activities quickly. You can manage any mild discomfort with over-the-counter pain relief. Don’t let the fear of pain keep you from seeking treatment and relief from your uncomfortable varicose veins. Contact us at Vein Specialists of the South for a consultation in Downtown Macon or Warner Robins, GA today.