Spring is almost here, which means it’s just about time to start showing some skin! If you suffer from varicose veins, however, you may not be as eager to wear shorts and skirts that showcase your legs. Varicose veins can be a problem for many people- in fact, approximately 50 percent of Americans suffer from some type of venous dysfunction. Not only can varicose veins affect your appearance and give you feelings of embarrassment and low self-esteem, but they can also be quite painful and cause problems such as leg swelling, blood clots, and muscle cramps.
Fortunately, as medical technology continues to advance, so does the number of treatments for varicose veins. These days, a variety of effective varicose vein treatments exists, with patients seeing impressive, life-changing results! But how do you choose the right varicose vein treatment for your unique circumstances? Here is a rundown of available varicose vein treatments and who they work best for, so you can decide which course of action is best for you.
Radiofrequency Ablation/Laser Ablation Treatments
This varicose vein treatment is an outpatient procedure that is performed under local anesthesia. The patient is numbed via needle injection at the site where treatment is to be performed, and then an ultrasound is used to guide a catheter into the vein. The vein itself is numbed with an anesthesia injection and is then heated with energy either from electrodes (radiofrequency ablation) or lasers (laser ablation). This heat eventually results in vein closure and improved venous circulation. Since this is an outpatient procedure and general anesthesia is not required, patients are able to resume normal activities on the same day. Additionally, since scarring at the catheter site is minimal to nonexistent, recipients of radiofrequency or laser ablation treatment can rest assured that there will be no lasting disfigurement or other negative side effects.
Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy Treatments
This outpatient procedure uses an ultrasound to place a very small needle into the precise vein where treatment is needed. A special medication known as a sclerosant is then injected into the vein to close it. While sclerotherapy treatments have been around for decades, this procedure uses state-of-the-art Varithena (Polidocanol) sclerosant medication to treat varicose veins. Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy provides patients with a convenient and relatively painless way to effectively treat varicose veins.
Mechanical Occlusion Chemically Assisted (MOCA)
Another outpatient procedure using local anesthesia, MOCA uses ultrasound to guide a catheter directly into the vein that is being treated. An angled wire is then inserted into the vein. This wire begins spinning rapidly, causing the vein to spasm and become irritated. At this point, a medication called Sotradecol is injected as the wire is withdrawn from the vein. The irritation and inflammation caused by both the wire agitation and the medication result in the vein shutting down permanently. Patients are typically able to resume normal activities within the same day.
Venous Adhesion (Venaseal)
Like ablation and MOCA treatments, this outpatient procedure begins with a numbing local anesthetic and a catheter placed in the vein using ultrasound. However, this treatment uses injections of a special medical glue to effectively seal off the problem veins. As with other varicose vein treatments, patients are normally able to resume activity on the same day as their procedure.
Ambulatory ‘Stab’ Phlebectomy
Unlike the other varicose vein treatments, which work with heat or by injecting medications or glues into veins to close them, ambulatory phlebectomy actually involves removal of varicose veins through the skin. While it is more invasive than other varicose vein treatments, ambulatory phlebectomy is only needed in a small subset of varicose vein patients.
Tired of living with varicose veins? OMNY Vein & Cardiovascular provides innovative solutions to help you live a happier, fuller life without unsightly varicose veins. Our caring and supportive staff is here to help our New York City patients through the entire vein treatment process. We’re with you every step of the way!