Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are blue or purple in color and can be seen bulging out on the legs. The term “varicose” comes from the Latin word “varix” which means twisted in English language. Any vein in the body can become varicose, but this particular disorder is mostly observed on the legs, thighs and feet. Varicose veins develop on the legs and lower half of the body due to walking and standing, which increases the pressure in the veins, located in the lower half of the body.
Varicose veins are an aesthetic concern for many men and women because they look unappealing on the body. However, it’s important to know that varicose veins do cause some pain and discomfort. This condition might lead to serious problems if not treated on time. Varicose veins might also be an indication of an individual being at a higher risk of other circulatory system disorders.
There are plenty of treatments available for varicose veins, which include catheter-assisted procedures, laser surgeries and endoscopic vein surgeries. Mentioned below are some procedures for treating varicose veins.
Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy:
Transillumination is an exceptional feature similar to a flashlight, placed under the skin. It allows the surgeon to see, precisely target and remove varicose veins. Conventional varicose vein surgery is considered to be a blind procedure as the surgeon is not able to see the veins or confirm removal. This procedure in carried out in an operating room after using a mild anesthetic.
The tumescent canula illuminator is positioned under the varicose vein. The cool xenon fiberoptic light helps the surgeon to see the varicose veins through the skin. Tumescent fluid, which is similar to what is used in liposuction, is infused under the skin, this loosens the vein from the surrounding tissue and provides local anesthesia.
Next, a second instrument known as the vein remover is guided to the veins with help of the TCI light. The vein is then suctioned into a small hole on the tip of the vein remover following which a protected blade cuts the vein into smaller pieces which can be removed from the body. This procedure is performed in about half an hour. Since the incisions are small, they don’t require stitches. As there is a large volume of local anesthetic used, most patients do not experience any pain when they wake up and go home in about an hour. Patients can resume normal routines within 2 or 3 days.
Ligation has been used for treating both varicose veins as well as underlying veins. During this surgery, a surgeon makes incisions over the problem vein and then the vein is tied off. This is done to cut off the supply of blood to the varicose vein and causes it to become less visible. A lot of physicians don’t recommend this treatment because there are very high changes of recurrence of varicose veins.
This procedure involves tying the upper end of the problem vein and then removing the vein. The procedure is performed in an operating room and the patient is under general anesthesia.
Endovenous Laser Ablation:
This laser procedure is a marginally invasive procedure meant for treating varicose veins. In this procedure, a laser fiber is put right into the vein that is a painful varicose vein. The laser then heats up the vein lining, damaging it and causing it to shrivel and eventually vanish. This treatment takes less than half an hour to perform and is typically used for treating larger varicose veins in the legs.
Advantages of Endovenous laser ablation treatment:
There are quite a few reasons for patients to consider treating varicose veins using the Endovenous laser treatment. This treatment provides:
- Quite a significant relief from aches, pain and heaviness
- A reduced possibility of developing stasis ulcers
- Improved blood circulation
- Quick and easy treatment option which is minimally invasive
How does the Endovenous Laser Treatment Work?
In this procedure, the energy source coming from the laser aggravates the vein walls and causes them to shrink and gradually disappear. After this, the veins are no longer able to carry blood through them. Since these are superficial veins, they are not meant to transfer blood to the heart.
Before the procedure begins, a topical anesthetic is applied over the treatment area. Following this, the doctor will insert an 810 nm diode fiber into the defective vein. The laser will then use an ultrasound to verify the position of the vein and then slowly heat it with low energy. This energy from the laser energy damages the wall of the vein and causes them to shrink. This eventually leads to a closure of the defective vein. The vein then gets fibrosed and is unable to carry blood.
The process is almost painless and requires about 30 to 60 minutes. After the vein has been treated, the probe is removed and a dressing is applied. The doctor will apply a compression bandage which needs to be worn for a week. The patient is normally discharged within an hour.
How Long does it Take to Recover after Endovenous Laser Treatment?
This procedure does not leave any scars and causes minimum postoperative pain. The recovery is rapid and patients can achieve almost immediate relief from the symptoms. The procedure causes slight soreness and bruising which can be treated with the help of over the counter pain medications. Following the treatment, patients can resume their normal routines almost immediately. Post treatment, the doctor will set up an appointment in the week after the procedure, to evaluate the progress of the treatment.
What are the Risks Involved with the Endovenous Laser Treatment?
As with any treatment procedure, there are some possible complications. The rare complications associated with this procedure include:
- A pulling sensation that might last for a week.
- Mild numbness around the area of treatment.
- Redness and tenderness of the skin (Phlebitis). This is mild and quite common. It can be easily treated with over the counter pain medications and will resolve within a week.
- Deep vein thrombosis is an extremely rare complication that occurs after Endovenous laser treatment. The best way to avoid this rare complication is to a wear a compression bandage and start walking immediately after the procedure.
- An infection at the incision site is also a rare occurrence but generally resolves on its own.
- Bruising is quite common after the procedure however it is mild and resolves in a week.
How Successful is Endovenous Laser Treatment?
The Endovenous laser ablation treatment is a very effective and safe procedure. It has been approved by the FDA for treating varicose veins. It is minimally invasive and has a success rate of 98%.