What Are Varicose Veins?
Severe varicose veins in the legs not just appear displeasing but may also result to serious problems such as cramps, throbbing sensation, pain especially after prolonged sitting or standing, rashes which are often itchy, irritation, darkening of the skin, swelling, and heaviness.
In some cases, the problem may lead to more serious risks such as bleeding, sores or skin ulcers, and deep vein thrombosis wherein a blood clot forms in the deeper veins that may travel to the lungs.
Different Treatments for Varicose Veins
The most ideal treatment will largely depend on the severity of the varicose veins and the physical symptoms associated with the condition. But regardless of which approach is used, the aim of the procedure is to alleviate pain and discomfort, improve the leg and skin’s appearance, and prevent complications.
Treatments for Severe Symptoms
If the symptoms were only minor, most doctors would just recommend lifestyle changes and/or use of compression hose which can support the skin and prevent the varicose veins from becoming worse.
However, patients who are experiencing severe symptoms may need a more invasive procedure including:
Surface Laser Treatments
An instrument is applied to the skin that releases strong bursts of light to target the veins and make these disappear. But since it uses heat, it is not uncommon to experience pain during the treatment, although this can be minimized with cooling air or gel which can also prevent burns and blisters.
If used in the legs, most people will need two to five sessions of laser treatment which often takes 15 to 20 minutes to complete. Meanwhile, it is important to note that darker skin and varicose veins that are more than 3mm will most likely not respond to the procedure.
Because laser treatments do not involve the use of incisions, a patient will not experience downtime although swelling and redness of the skin, which often resolve within a few days, are not uncommon.
Endovenous Technique (Laser and Radiofrequency)
The technique, which is a good alternative to surgery, is performed by using a small tube that is inserted to a vein. A small probe is then placed inside the cylinder which has a tip that can heat up and seal the varicose veins with the use of laser or radiofrequency energy.
Meanwhile, the healthy veins around the treated ones will take over which means that normal blood flow will not be affected.
Also, the veins connected to the treated varicose veins will most likely shrink after the session, but in case that they did not contract, the surgeons may repeat the procedure or use other treatments.
Treatments for Varicose Veins
In this procedure, the surgeons inject fluids into the varicose veins to make their walls swell and stick together. And because it stops the flow of blood, the treated veins turn into a scar tissue which will fade within a few weeks.
More often than not, the treated vein will need to undergo the same procedure more than once. Succeeding treatments are usually performed four to six weeks apart to allow the scar tissue to fade.
Surgery (Surgical Ligation and Stripping)
Due to its invasiveness and risks, surgery is often seen as the last resort; however, this approach may be the only way to treat very large varicose veins and the physical symptoms associated with this condition.
With this approach, the varicose veins are completely removed from the legs through several small incisions in the skin. The technique does not affect normal blood circulation since the deeper veins are enough to accommodate larger amounts of blood. In general, the surgery is safe although it requires one to four weeks of recovery.