If you have varicose veins that are causing symptoms or spider veins that you want to get rid of so you can feel comfortable in shorts or swimwear, there are a number of vein treatment options available to you. Here are the basics, courtesy of Dr. Chris Pittman at Vein 911 in Tampa, Florida.
Varicose veins occur because the tiny flaps of tissue (valves) inside them become weak. The purpose of these valves is to prevent blood from flowing backward during the pause between heartbeats. Once the valves fail, blood backs up and causes distension of the vein. Varicose veins in the legs become visible under the skin as twisted, puffy “ropes.” Spider veins – which are varicose veins in miniature – look like starbursts of red, black, purple or blue. Two other kinds of varicose veins many people don’t think about are deep varicose veins in the pelvis and hemorrhoids. Each of these conditions has at least one and often multiple vein treatment options.
Compression stockings are the most common kind of conservative treatment for varicose veins (they don’t help spider veins). The stockings must be properly fitted and worn every day from morning to night.
Endovenous Laser Therapy
EVLT, as the procedure is known, is an outpatient treatment for larger varicose veins in the legs. An ultrasound is used to guide a thin laser fiber which can be heated. The heat makes the vein close, while other healthy veins take over the circulation. After a few weeks, the treated veins shrink and become less visible.
Hemorrhoids truly are just like varicose veins in the leg – only in a different place. They can be treated with ligation, in which one or two tiny rubber bands cut off the circulation. The hemorrhoid shrinks and falls off within a week or so. Other possible treatments are sclerotherapy – an injection of a special solution that shrinks the hemorrhoid – or coagulation with a laser to shrivel the hemorrhoid.
Pelvic Vein Treatment
Varicose veins can occur in the pelvic area – often as a result of pregnancy. They may cause pelvic congestion syndrome. These veins can sometimes be treated with ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy or with embolization – a procedure in which a tiny catheter is used to block off a diseased vein.
Sclerotherapy is the use of a chemical solution or foam which is injected into the diseased vein. The solution irritates the vein walls, which swell dramatically, then collapse and shrink. The veins scar closed and are absorbed by adjoining tissue. Visual sclerotherapy is an injection using the naked eye, while ultrasound guided sclerotherapy uses foam and an ultrasound to treat deep veins that can’t be seen easily.
Vein Gogh is a radio-frequency treatment for spider veins. Unlike laser therapy, there is no “sunburn” appearance after treatment.
No matter where your varicose vein problems occur, we probably have a solution for you. Please contact us for answers to questions or to schedule an appointment.