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Getting to Know Varicose and Spider Veins

varicose-veins-treatmentVaricose and spider veins are a common vein disorder that affect millions of people across the globe. If you are unfamiliar with the terms, a varicose vein is a raised blood vessel that is often discolored and swollen. They can have a jagged appearance and are most commonly found on the legs. As for spider veins, these are small, superficial veins that are typically red or purple in color that are most frequently found on the legs and face. These veins can create an unpleasant appearance and diminish the blood flow performance in your body. While these veins are often hereditary, factors such as stress, obesity, hormonal changes, excessive standing, and blood clotting can influence their formation.

How to Get Rid of Them

spider-vein-treatmentUntil recently varicose and spider veins were solely treated through a procedure known as vein stripping. This painful process involved putting the patient under general anesthesia, cutting an incision, tying off the effected vein, and stripping it out of the body. This process requires a hefty amount of downtime that is often left with traumatized surrounding tissue, scarring, and infection.

Thanks to advances in medical practices, vein stripping is no longer the best way to handle these troubling veins. Instead there are better and safer alternatives that use local anesthesia and require no downtime. Some of the new approaches to varicose and spider vein removal include:

  • EndoVenous Laser Treatment (EVLT®)-Unlike traditional vein stripping, EVLT is a non-surgical procedure that harnesses laser energy to help treat effected veins. This procedure is done by inserting a tiny diode laser probe through a nick in the skin that is the size of a freckle. An ultrasound display is then used to navigate the laser probe around the malfunctioning veins causing them to permanently close without surgical removal. When the procedure is done, the targeted veins will begin to be naturally absorbed by the body.
  • Sclerotherapy-This procedure is best suited for small irritated veins such as spider veins.  It works by administering an irritant chemical into the vein via an injection. This chemical helps soothe inflammations or discolorations within the vein. Since Sclerotherapy deliver temporary relief, recurring treatment sessions may to be needed.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)-The RFA treatment is similar to EVLT except it uses radiofrequency energy to close the targeted veins. Once hit with this RF energy, the veins will begin to slowly be absorbed and naturally disappear.

All of these procedures can be performed in less than hour and are typically done in the comfort of an office. In addition, no scarring or no downtime is experienced. Patients are free to walk out the door with instant satisfaction that there once troubling and unsightly veins have now been treated.