Laser treatment for varicose veins
Up to 40 percent of women and 18 percent of men have problems with severe varicose veins. Slow stagnate venous blood return to the heart often causes leg aches, burning pain, stinging pain and, with time may lead to non-healing skin ulcerations of the distal limbs. The bulging blue and sprawling ropy varicose veins that prompted your “no shorts” rule can now be effectively resolved without fear of surgery, pain or long recovery periods, thanks to endovenous laser treatment. Before laser vein treatment, vein stripping surgery was the mainstay of vein therapy, along with compression stockings. In place of the “stripping” surgical procedures that required the leg to be cut open and faulty veins to be cut out, the new laser vein procedure is minimally invasive and neither is necessary.
Evaluation of symptomatic varicose veins starts with a detailed history and physical examination. A detailed ultrasound review of the lower extremities is completed to map out the limb veins to determine the site of the faulty valves and their relationship to the varicose veins. The veins are not constant like arteries; each person has unique vein patterns and unique varicose vein problems. A personalized attack plan is necessary with ultrasound mapping to plan efficient eradication of the problem varicose veins.
What to Expect
Laser treatment costs less than traditional stripping surgery for varicose veins and usually takes less than two hours to complete. Laser treatment can be administered in an outpatient setting without general anesthesia and minimal scarring. Ultrasound is used to map out the main veins at the time of the procedure. After a local anesthetic is applied, a thin laser fiber passes through a needle injected into the leg (usually near the knee). The faulty vein or veins are then sealed using high energy laser techniques. The limbs are then wrapped for a short period of time with compression wraps. Sometimes, laser vein treatment is used in conjunction with sclerotherapy where a sclerosing solution is injected into small spider veins. This causes the small veins to seal, allowing for a better cosmetic final result.
But, before you stop shopping for shorts again, your condition first needs to be properly evaluated to ensure that you are a candidate for venous laser therapy. This procedure is not for spider veins or for cosmetic reasons. The patients who are best candidates for laser therapy have significant ropy varicose veins which cause the symptoms of burning, stinging, heavy leg sensations along with leg swelling, and who have failed more conservative treatment options.
Not every patient is a good candidate for laser vein treatment, but it does work well for most. Traditional surgery still has its advantages for some (more severe) cases. Based on physical exam and a detailed ultrasound, your physician should be able to find out if the procedure would be the right course of action for you. Most insurance carriers and Medicare cover payment for varicose vein therapies as long as it is medically necessary and not just for cosmetic reasons.
Call 423-648-4012 to request a FREE vein screening!