In the past, the best ways of how to treat varicose veins were painful, potentially dangerous, and had an extended recovery period that could last for weeks or months. For over 100 years, the procedure known as vein stripping involved cutting a long incision in the leg and “stripping” the vein from the leg under general anesthesia. Complications such as tissue or nerve damage were common side effects of the surgery, and the scars left behind were almost as unsightly as the original varicose veins.
Advances in laser treatment for varicose veins means that today’s procedures are minimally invasive and allow for a quicker healing time. Endovenous laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation, and sclerotherapy for minor vein diseases veins are all relatively new, but popular varicose vein treatment options, helping patients with vein disease across the globe.
Endovenous Laser Ablation & Radiofrequency Ablation
Both forms of ablation are nonsurgical options that offer positive results in the battle against varicose veins. Endovenous laser ablation is performed as an outpatient procedure in a physician’s office, using only a local anesthetic and a tiny incision. In this laser varicose vein treatment, the laser is used to seal the affected vein, causing it to eventually be absorbed into the body. The patient is able to walk immediately after the procedure is performed, and recovery time is extremely fast. What little discomfort or pain that accompanies the endovenous laser ablation can be treated with a simple, over-the-counter pain reliever.
Radiofrequency ablation also involves a local anesthetic and a tiny incision, but this type of procedure uses radiofrequency waves to seal the vein. This laser treatment for varicose veins can be performed in about 45 minutes, compared to two hours of surgery required for vein stripping, and the pain, swelling, and itchiness that typify symptoms of varicose veins disappear quickly.
Spider veins are small clusters of tiny red and purple veins that resemble a spider and rarely signify a more serious underlying condition. Sclerotherapy is used to treat these unsightly clumps by injecting a chemical irritant into the affected veins, causing them to swell, clot, and eventually scar and disappear. This procedure is considered cosmetic, which means most insurance carriers will not cover it.
Deeper spider veins still respond well to sclerotherapy, but ultra-sound guided sclerotherapy may be needed to help reach the veins. Multiple treatments are often required to completely rid the area of spider veins. In the case refluxing saphenous veins, sclerotherapy should be used in conjunction with other vein disease treatments, as the procedure alone does not cure or address underlying diseases.
St. Louis Laser Vein Center
Schedule your consultation with the St. Louis Laser Vein Center today and discover how you can live your life free of the embarrassment that generally accompanies the unsightliness of varicose veins.