Varicose Vein Therapy

Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They usually develop in the legs and can be seen through the skin. Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that are also twisted and turning. Spider veins are easily visible through the skin as well. They are most often seen on the legs, chest, or face.

Varicose veins develop more often in women than in men. They increase in frequency with age. An estimated 30% to 60% of adults have varicose veins.

A number of factors predispose a person to varicose veins. These include:

– Heredity (passed on from a parent to a child through genes)

– Occupations that involve a lot of standing, such as seen among nurses, hair stylists, teachers, and factory workers

– Obesity

– Hormonal influences during pregnancy, puberty, and menopause

– The use of birth control pills

– Postmenopausal hormonal replacement

– A history of blood clots

What are the symptoms of Varicose Veins?

Symptoms of Varicose Veins

Many patients with varicose veins complain of pain, described as an aching or cramping in the legs. Other common symptoms include tiredness, restlessness, burning, throbbing, tingling, or heaviness in the legs. Pain caused by varicose veins is usually relieved by elevating the legs or by wearing support hose.

In women, symptoms may be worse during certain parts of the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. Patients also may develop swelling, ulcers (large sores), and an increase in the pigmentation or darkening of the color of their skin, especially in the ankle region. Occasionally, varicose veins can form a painful blood clot with inflammation of the vein called thrombophlebitis.

What is an Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)?

Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) is a quick, minimally invasive laser procedure for patients who suffer with painful and unsightly varicose veins. This technique has shown a 98% success rate and offers major advantages compared with the alternative treatments.

Who is a candidate for EVLT?

Premier Radiology’s Interventional Radiologists will help you determine if you will benefit from EVLT. During an initial consultation, our physician carefully examines your medical history and veins, maps out problem areas, and may even recommend an ultrasound to rule out any deeper issues. If it is determined that you are a candidate for the procedure, a more detailed ultrasound will be scheduled prior to performing the procedure.

The saphenous vein and other veins that may be considered usable for future surgical bypass procedures may not be considered for injection. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you may be advised to wait 3-4 months after pregnancy, as many veins that appear during pregnancy will disappear on their own in time

What should I expect?

EVLT is a procedure that takes about 45 minutes. However, the entire appointment will last around 2 hours. EVLT uses laser energy delivered in a thin fiber-optic probe to treat the underlying cause of the varicose veins. Performed under ultrasound guidance, the procedure uses strictly local anesthetic.

Prior to the procedure you will be given a mild sedative, Xanax or Valium, to help you relax but not put you to sleep. You will be awake and comfortable for the procedure. We will mark your vein using ultrasound and prep you for the procedure. During the procedure, the area of the leg affected is locally anesthetized or numbed using Lidocaine, and a small catheter is inserted. You will then be injected with a diluted solution of Lidocaine along the vein from the injection site to the groin area. Next a thin laser is inserted into the catheter and pulled down the saphenous vein to the injection site; this may take 1-3 minutes depending on the length of the vein. Your body will naturally use other healthy veins to return blood to the heart. The laser is then withdrawn from the body and a small dressing will be placed on your insertion site. We will put the compression hose on you and then you may get dressed. You may be asked to walk on a treadmill for 20 minutes.

Early results have been extremely favorable with success rates as high as 98%, without the complications of surgery. EVLT will normally treat the cause of most varicose veins, however, in some cases, patients may require additional therapies or procedures to complete the treatment plan. Often this additional treatment is sclerotherapy, which is also available at the Premier Radiology |Briarville.

What happens after my EVLT appointment?

Directly following your procedure you must NOT take off the compression stockings and dressing for the first 24 hours; this is to help healing and decrease swelling. After 24 hours, you may remove the stockings and dressing to bathe and sleep; however you must wear the stockings at all other times for the next two weeks. You may resume normal activities after your procedure, but may not perform any strenuous activities or heavy lifting for two weeks or fly in any aircraft. If you experience pain or discomfort, you may take Tylenol or Ibuprofen. Soreness may disappear after 24 hours. Mild soreness may last 7-10 days. About 5-8 days after the procedure you may feel tightness or pulling along the treated vein; this is normal and will typically go away in 2-3 days.

To evaluate the success of your procedure, you will be scheduled for an ultrasound two weeks after your procedure.