Varicose Vein Treatment
Minimally Invasive Vein Ablation Treatment
Veins carry impure blood back to the heart. Veins in the leg work against gravity to return the blood from the legs to the heart. When this one-way blood delivery mechanism fails blood starts pooling in the lower legs. This is called venous insufficiency. The engorged veins can be seen under the skin as thick ‘noodles’. This causes heaviness in the legs, progressing through the day as one keeps standing. It may progress to skin changes, itching and finally as open sores mostly around the ankle.
Vein ablation is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for venous insufficiency. It usually takes an hour to perform. Local anesthetic is applied along the length of the vein usually from the knee to the groin. A small nick is made to introduce a thin catheter into the vein. Either light energy (laser) or electromagnetic energy (radio-frequency) is then applied to burn (synch) the vein shut.
Most patients have some soreness and pain that is usually treated with over the counter medications. You will be advised to keep compression stockings on for 1-2 weeks. You are encouraged to resume your routine activities immediately but avoid strenuous work.
This newer less invasive treatment has almost replaced the older treatment of vein stripping that involved surgery and prolonged recovery. Compared to surgery, vein ablation takes less than an hour, does not require a surgical incision and allows patients to resume activity immediately.
Most insurance companies cover evaluation and treatment of symptomatic varicose veins that can not be controlled with conservative treatment with compression stockings.
Sclerotherapy and Phlebectomy
Smaller veins that cannot be treated with ablation are closed with injection of a medication directly into the veins with fine needles. This is called scelerotherapy.
Big veins that are not amenable to vein ablation can be removed through a small nick in the skin using special instruments under local anaesthesia. This is called phelbectomy.