The development of varicose veins isn’t uncommon, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating for those suffering from the condition. Varicose veins often present on the legs as bulging or even twisted blue, red, and purple protrusions that are frequently accompanied by a collection of painful symptoms. Individuals dealing with varicose veins often report sensations of painful swelling and heat in the affected area and at their most severe, varicose veins may even hinder certain activities and mobility to an extent. Those suffering from less severe cases of varicose veins are often frustrated by the aesthetic appearance of these protruding veins that can criss-cross the legs.
What Causes Varicose Veins?
In order for blood to travel successfully throughout the body and back and forth to the heart, human anatomy must allow for a network of veins to work in tandem with a series of valves that keep blood flowing the right direction at all times. Because these valves are working against gravity to get blood back to the heart, when a valve malfunctions, it can quickly lead to the development of varicose veins. As blood begins to flow in the wrong direction, it pools in the extremities and the build-up of pressure leads to bulging, visible, and sometimes painful veins.
Past Solutions for Varicose Veins
Individuals suffering from varicose veins have long looked for solutions to reducing the issue or eliminating problematic veins altogether. For nearly a century, vein stripping was the preferred and most exclusive method for dealing with varicose veins. While the results were varied at best, the risks associated with the procedure where many. Patients endured an often painful procedure that required general anesthesia and involved a long incision in the leg so the problematic vein could be removed. The recover period associated with vein stripping was strenuous and often lasted upwards of weeks or even months. It wasn’t uncommon for patients to endure side effects from this procedure that ranged from significant scarring to nerve damage at the treatment site.
Fortunately, advances in cosmetic and laser technologies over time mean that patients looking for solutions to their varicose veins today have ample options that are safe, effective, and virtually painless. Patients are able to work closely with their physicians to determine which form of laser treatment best fits their individual case of varicose veins and can even incorporate preference related to recovery times to fit their lifestyle.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
The battle against varicose veins doesn’t have to be an extended one. Patients who elect to use endovenous laser ablation to treat varicose veins will enjoy undergoing an outpatient procedure that can be performed right in their attending physician’s office during the course of an afternoon. This non-surgical treatment option requires nothing more than local anesthetic at the treatment site and a small incision so the physician can accurately target the problematic veins with precision lasers. As the lasers heat the veins to the point of collapse, the blood begins to flow back towards healthy veins and valves and in time, the body will reabsorb the damaged vein completely. As this happens, varicose veins disappear and with them, painful symptoms and discoloration and bulging under the skin. The recovery time associated with endovenous laser ablation is quick and at most, patients report minimal redness and swelling at the treatment site which can be helped with over the counter pain medications.
Very similar to endovenous laser ablation is the option for patients to elect radiofrequency ablation when treating varicose veins. This is also considered an outpatient procedure that can be completed in a physician’s office within 45 minutes to one hour. During this treatment, local anesthetic and a tiny incision are injected and made respectively before the physician uses targeted radiofrequency energy to seal and collapse the varicose veins in question. The body will naturally absorb this vein over time, reducing or eliminating the appearance and symptoms associated with that vein.
Often accompanying the development of varicose veins is a collection of spider veins which can present across the face, arms and legs. These veins tend to show up as webs of purple, red, or blue and while they don’t frequently occur with any associated symptoms, individuals suffering from spider veins are often distressed at their appearance on the face and body. Treatment of these smaller veins is often approached with sclerotherapy. This outpatient procedure provides an opportunity for a cosmetic physician to inject the problematic veins just underneath the surface of the skin with a solution of anesthetic and sclerosant. The combination works to irritate the veins to the point of closure and collapse ultimately reducing or eliminating their appearance. Patients who present with spider veins at a deeper subcutaneous level may be recommended a form of sclerotherapy that utilizes an ultrasound simultaneously to be able to pinpoint problematic veins further below the surface.
Schedule Your Consultation Today
If you’re considering laser treatment for varicose or spider veins and wondering what might work for you, be sure to contact the St. Louis Laser Vein Center today to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with Dr. Wright. We can’t wait to welcome you to our clinic!