Our blood vessels, which consist of veins, arteries, and capillaries, are the medium in which blood travels throughout the body. If you were to line up each blood vessel within the body, it would expand to over 60,000 miles! With such an important function, it is important to take care of your blood vessels to ensure that your circulatory system is in good working order. One common malfunction that is seen in blood vessels are varicose veins and spider veins. A varicose vein is an enlarged vein that has a jagged and discolored appearance, while a spider vein is scaled down version of this and often consists of tiny superficial veins. These conditions are sometimes hereditary but can often be induced through stress, hormone imbalance, obesity, and excessive standing.
Until recently, veins of this nature were primarily treated through a procedure known as vein stripping. This procedure works by putting the patient under general anesthesia, making an incision near the vein, cutting the vein, and then stripping it out of the body. This process can be traumatic to the surrounding tissue and may cause nerve damage, scarring, and a painful recovery period.
While vein stripping is still practiced today, there are much better alternatives out there that provide better results with virtually no downtime or scarring. Some of the top alternatives include:
- EndoVenous Laser Treatment (EVLT®)-In a matter of 45 minutes, patients with troubling varicose veins can seek relief without having to undergo an intensive surgery. By making a freckle-sized incision while the patient is under local anesthesia, a qualified physician can address the targeted vein. Once the incision is made, a tiny probe with laser technology is navigated near the vein. The laser energy from the probe causes the vein to seal and dwindle in size. As time goes on, the treated vein will be naturally absorbed by the body.
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)-Just like the EVLT procedure, the RFA is performed with the same approach except in this case radio frequency energy is used rather than laser energy. Both procedures seal the malfunctioning vein and allow it to be slowly absorbed by the body. Upon completion with RFA or EVLT, the patient will experience no downtime and is free to walk around immediately.
- Sclerotherapy-Most commonly used for disorders like spider veins, Sclerotherapy is a procedure that uses irritant chemical injections to the vein to help resolve vein disease. This procedure is effective but often requires ongoing treatments to keep the vein in healthy order.