by Health Journalist, Jennifer Landis
Varicose veins are those unsightly bulging veins from the back your legs that sometimes occur due to leg swelling or other activities. The veins are enlarged and look knotted throughout your legs. Most of the time, varicose veins are just cosmetically unattractive, and people often want them removed. However, sometimes varicose veins can cause more serious circulation problems. Here are a few new methods, as well as a few proven techniques, to deal with varicose veins.
Venaseal is a new technology that was developed by Medtronic. The Venaseal procedure uses an adhesive to close the veins. A catheter is inserted in the leg and dispenser gun delivers the adhesive. The whole procedure is minimally invasive and is quicker than laser procedures. The procedure is so new, at this point it is not covered by insurance and costs about $3,000.
Non-Surgical Laser Treatment
The Venacure EVLT procedure utilizes a minimally-invasive endovenous laser that requires general anesthesia to treat varicose veins. The procedure uses a catheter to administer an exact dose of energy to the wall of the vein, causing it to collapse. The treatment, also called an ablation, redirects blood to working veins. There is less downtime for this type of procedure, and the pain is also minimal in comparison to other procedures.
Massage therapy is another way to deal with varicose veins. In particular, a lymphatic drain can increase circulation in the legs, which can help alleviate pain caused by varicose veins. This light technique can help those with varicose veins who may not be candidates for traditional massage. Although there are some skeptics, massage can have circulatory and mental benefits for varicose vein sufferers.
Sclerotherapy is a procedure that requires injections of small amounts of a solution that scars and closes the veins. In this procedure, a physician injects the legs with the solution at an in-office treatment. The procedure is typically effective, although veins may need to be injected more than once to achieve the desired results.
Lasers use a high-beam light to deliver treatment. Laser surgery can be performed to diminish varicose vein problems. Surgery is required for larger varicose veins that cannot be treated using sclerotherapy or external laser therapy. A catheter in which a laser is threaded is passed through the skin into the vein. The doctor then treats the vein, watching the whole procedure on a duplex ultrasound. The recovery time for this procedure is also less than what it is for ligation or stripping. In addition, the pain for the patient is diminished.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a procedure that removes superficial veins. This outpatient technique for removing varicose veins involves removing superficial veins through small slits or incisions in the skin. The procedure can cause temporary bruising or swelling, inflammation and skin numbness. Patients can usually walk right after the procedure takes place, but they are encouraged to wear compression socks. Pain is also relatively minimal for this procedure.
Compression socks are usually the old stand-by home remedy for dealing with varicose veins. The socks promote good circulation in the vein through support and compression on the leg. Compression socks are worn at a number of times including after surgery and during pregnancy and lately, they have become all the rage for athletes. Using compression socks offers relief for swelling issues in the leg.
Vein stripping is one of the more traditional methods for dealing with varicose veins. This is a surgical procedure that removes non-functioning veins from the legs. Doctors will choose this treatment if the patient is in consistent pain, has skin sores or open wounds, blood clots or bleeding from the veins or experiences exceptional pain in the veins. The recovery time for this procedure is usually two to four weeks. Patients are encouraged to stay off their feet for the first three days following the procedure. Although there are complications, they are relatively rare.
Endoscopic Vein Surgery
Endoscopic vein surgery helps to treat varicose veins as well. This procedure is typically performed in severe cases. The surgeon uses a camera-mounted tube to see inside the body, which allows them greater access to the affected region so the veins can be treated. This is considered a minimally invasive procedure, so less downtime and less pain can be expected. Sometimes the procedure is combined with other forms of treatment.
Varicose veins are an age-old problem caused by both activity and genetics and dealing with them can be a hassle. As you can see, there are a number of ways to deal with this condition, be socks or surgery and newer procedures like Venaseal. Dealing with varicose veins is not fun or easy, but these procedures can offer some light at the end of the tunnel.
Jennifer Landis is a health journalist and the editor of MissRX.com and Mindfulness Mama.com. She is passionate about health, wellness, and the human body and loves to dig deep to find the facts on the latest health trends. When she is not writing and editing you will likely find her at home trying to keep up with her toddler, whipping up something healthy in the kitchen, or watching Dr. Who with her husband.