Treating Varicose Veins: The Non-Invasive Way
In the past, the only treatment to get rid of varicose veins was invasive surgical procedures, also called vein stripping. These days, medical advances have provided non-invasive options that can be done by a vein specialist. These non-invasive methods do not involve any surgery and are usually performed in the specialist’s office. Sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation (such as VeinGogh), and endovenous laser ablation are three common procedures.
For smaller sized varicose and spider vein cases, sclerotherapy may be recommended. This procedure uses ultrasound and a special medication. The medication is designed to harden the treated vein. Over time, the vein disappears as the body works to destroy it. Sclerotherapy can also be used for larger vein trouble, but the medication will be in a foam form.
Only small amounts of medication are used in this procedure. The specialist will use an ultrasound to administer the medication. A tiny needle is used to inject it into the vein. One injection of the medication for small veins covers a one inch length of the vein, which is why it is only used for a vein that is smaller. Adjustments are made when the medication used is the foam version.
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Radiofrequency Ablation (VeinGogh)
Radiofrequency ablation is another procedure. An ultrasound helps the specialist insert a very small tube into the vein. He or she administers a numbing medication through the tube to numb the vein. A thin metal wire is then threaded into the vein through the tube, relying on the ultrasound to direct it into the proper location.
The metal wire in this procedure is connected to a machine that transmits radiofrequency energy. This energy heats up the wall of the vein, causing it to thicken. It contracts and begins to disappear. Generally, the treated vein is completely gone within a few weeks following the procedure.
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Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous laser ablation also uses heat similar to radiofrequency ablation. The method of delivery is the same, through a very small tube inserted into the vein. In the same manner, the tube is inserted into the vein, and the numbing medication is delivered. The difference is in the type of heat that is used.
This procedure delivers heat by a tiny laser fiber. This fiber is inserted through the tube. It then heats up the vein. The heat causes the vein to collapse. Following the procedure, the treated vein shrinks and disappears. This usually takes a few weeks, but you will notice the shrinking vein until it is completely gone.
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These treatments are recommended for people who do not want to undergo surgery, but home methods are not working. They are also recommended when the problem vein is causing pain, ulcers develop, or fatty tissue around the area turns hard. Instances of blot clot formation are more immediate cases that may require bypassing initial self-care efforts.
Non-invasive treatment for varicose veins does not involve the same risks as surgical procedures. They do not require anesthesia and any time spent in a hospital. To determine which procedure is the best for you, it is important to consult a vein specialist. The type of procedure recommended will depend on the severity of your condition.