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Which is the Best Treatment for Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins range from very small (spider veins) to large, tortuous veins that cause burning, swelling and leg pain. Although most common in the legs, they can occur anywhere in the body. Most vein treatment in today's world is done on an outpatient basis, but treatment varies according to a number of different factors. Here's what you need to know about vein care and vein treatment, courtesy of Dr. Ken Stevens at Premier Heart and Vein Care.

Varicose Vein Basics

A varicose vein occurs when the tiny tissue flaps called valves to stop doing their jobs. As a result, blood can flow backward and pool in the vein. As the vein becomes distended, it starts to twist and bulge from the increased pressure. You can get a varicose vein anywhere in the body, including inside in places like the esophagus, where they are called esophageal varices. The distended veins are unsightly and can make your legs burn, itch, swell or hurt. In severe cases, you can actually develop leg ulcers from the damaged veins. Very small varicose veins, called spider veins, may occur in places like the face, chest, legs or ankles. Many varicose veins can be diagnosed with a physical examination, but an ultrasound may also be used for confirmation.

Varicose Vein Treatment – Conservative

Self-care and compression stockings are the most common conservative recommendations for varicose veins. Varicose veins often accompany obesity, so losing weight may help. The vein won't go away, but it may get smaller and you'll have fewer symptoms. It may also prevent you from developing more varicose veins. Other strategies – regular exercise to improve circulation, not wearing tight clothes and not spending long hours on your feet – may also be helpful. Specially fitted compression stockings are another self-care strategy.

Varicose Vein Treatment – Interventions

For more severe problems or if conservative strategies don't help, there are office-based procedures available. Some treatments are outpatient surgeries. Among the possibilities are:

Sclerotherapy – an irritant solution is injected into the vein, which collapses and scars closed. Used for spider veins.

Foam sclerotherapy – similar to the above but foam is injected into larger varicose veins.

Laser surgery – lasers can make the vein swell, collapse and scar closed.

Radiofrequency treatment – a special catheter is inserted into the vein, the radiofrequency energy irritates the vein and it scars closed.

Litigation and vein stripping – a minor surgical procedure; the vein is tied off high in the leg and pulled out from the bottom.

Ambulatory phlebectomy – similar to a vein stripping, but the vein is removed in smaller sections.

Endoscopic vein surgery – surgery to remove the vein with a special instrument inserted into the vein.

The best treatment for a varicose vein depends on many things – your age, your physical condition, your symptoms, and the size and location of the vein. Dr. Stevens can asses your situation and make a recommendation that works best for you. Please contact our office for more information or to schedule an appointment.

How long does pain last after vein ablation?

There was a time not too long ago when having your ugly, painful varicose veins treated meant undergoing a surgical procedure, with prolonged downtime and significant discomfort afterward. Thankfully, that’s all changed. Today’s vein treatment procedures use advanced techniques to significantly reduce pain and downtime, and minimally-invasive options offer surprisingly fast recovery time and very few uncomfortable after effects.

Radiofrequency ablation or RFA is one of those minimally-invasive vein treatment options that offer very good results coupled with a fast recovery. During RFA, tiny incisions are made in the skin over the affected vein and a thin fiber is inserted into the vein. The fiber emits controlled bursts of radiofrequency energy, which irritates and damages the vessel lining, causing the vein to close off to the flow of blood.

RFA Recovery: What to Expect

RFA can be performed right in the office as an outpatient procedure, and the incisions are so tiny, they can be closed with bandages and adhesives - no sutures required. Most patients resume many of their normal activities within a day or two.

After your surgery, you’ll need to wear compression hose (or a compression bandage, if the vein isn’t on your leg or foot) for a week or two. Compression helps by preventing fluids from accumulating around the treatment area, speeding healing and keeping swelling and bruising to a minimum. You will have some swelling and bruising, but you can expect these effects to resolve within a few days for the mild swelling to a week or so for bruising.

Many patients are concerned about the level of discomfort they’ll experience after radiofrequency ablation, but there’s good news here, too. Most patients experience only minor discomfort, and only for about a week or two after treatment. There may also be some minor numbness in and around the treatment area, but this too typically lasts for only a few weeks, or until healing in the area is complete.

To help with healing - and also to reduce swelling and discomfort - it’s important to stay active after your surgery. While you’ll need to avoid strenuous physical activity, moderate amounts of regular walking are an idea for ensuring adequate blood flow, which is important for proper healing and to avoid clot formation. Always follow the post-op guidelines provided by the doctor, and never take any medicines - including aspirin and supplements - without speaking with the doctor first.

Put an end to painful, unhealthy varicose veins.

As a leading provider of state-of-the-art vein treatments in and around San Luis Obispo, CA, Premier Heart & Vein Care offers advanced vein care options optimized for each patient's unique and individual needs. If you’re suffering from varicose veins, learn how you can relieve painful symptoms and improve your vascular health. Call Premier Heart & Vein Care at 805-979-4777 and schedule a consultation visit today.

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