For people with family members who suffered from varicose veins, the appearance of these unsightly vessels is often a dreaded event. These veins have a gnarled appearance that sometimes resembles a cauliflower. Usually dark blue or purple, they are easy to spot and can rob a sufferer of self-confidence. Fortunately, there are now a number of effective ways to get rid of varicose veins.
Why Seek Treatment at a Vein ClinicAn estimated 20 million to 25 million U.S. residents suffer from varicose veins, according to the UCDavisHealth System. Specialists who treat them are vascular surgeons. When patients experience no bothersome symptoms, treatment could be unnecessary. However, when self-care cannot control issues that develop, vein doctors can offer a number of minimally invasive therapies, the Mayo Clinic advises. While many people with varicose vessels experience no pain, sometimes these veins need treatment if they link to more serious health issues like sores, skin ulcers, bleeding, superficial thrombophlebitis, and deep vein thrombosis, according to Womenshealth.gov.
Types of Vein TreatmentTreatments fall into one of two groups: lifestyle/home care and medical/surgical. The goal of both types is relieving symptoms, improving appearance, and preventing complications. It is standard practice to use ultrasound to locate all vessels that need treatment. Most physicians at a vein clinic initially suggest conservative changes in habits and lifestyle that patients can accomplish at home. The most common include:
- Wearing compression stockings
- Getting more exercise to improve circulation
- Elevating the legs while at rest
- Reducing the duration of prolonged standing or sitting
- Shedding excess weight
Sclerotherapy, most often used for spider veins, is also appropriate for some smaller varicose veins if they are near the surface of the skin. In this outpatient procedure, the physician injects a solution that hardens and causes the vein to seal shut. Neighboring blood vessels pick up the blood flow.
Endovenous laser therapycloses veins by inserting a thin optical fiber laser into the greater saphenous vein. The tip delivers laser energy and heats the diseased part of the vessel, which eventually scars shut.
Ambulatory phlebectomyremoves targeted veins through small leg incisions. It has minimal recovery time and requires no stitches. Sometimes a vascular surgeon performs this procedure in tandem with other types. One type of phlebectomy is the ambulatory microphlebectomy.