Today I want to talk with you about Veins. You know those unattractive purple and red lines or bulges we see on our legs and sometimes on our face. I have both personal and professional experience with varicose veins and spider veins. I have undergone the majority of the treatments I will talk about today and perform all of them as well, so I hope to answer your questions about what the differences are and the best treatments depending on your vein disease.
Vein disease is a broad category. It can range from spider veins that are mostly a cosmetic issue to extensive venous reflux that can cause severe medical issues from pain, swelling, and ulceration of the skin.
Spider veins are small blue, red and purple streaks that can be in web like patterns that develop in the skin. They lie close to the surface. They are usually found on the legs and can be found on the face. They are also referred to as telangiectasias. They do not tend to painful but can cause some burning and aching locally with standing. Most people are concerned with how they look. They can be caused by trauma. They can also be an indication of more serious vein disease especially if associated with other symptoms such as swelling, itching and restless legs.
There are a few treatment options for spider veins. To start with you should have a consultation with a physician who treats all aspects of veins. That way they can determine if you have underlying issues that may need to be addressed first. For spider veins not associated with deeper disease, treatment can be with sclerotherapy or laser treatment.
Sclerotherapy involves injecting a substance directly into the vein to make it close. The most common material is sotradecol which is an FDA approved medicine. This procedure is done in the office. It has only mild discomfort and can be done in a short amount of time. After the procedure, some type of support or compression hose is recommended. This procedure is usually considered cosmetic and is not always covered by insurance.
Laser treatments are another option for spider veins. Lasers send pulses of light into the veins to close them off. The veins then fade away over time. There are no needles with this treatment. The laser feels like a small flick with a rubber band. The treatments usually take 15 to 30 min. It can take several treatments to completely treat an area. These treatments are usually done 4 weeks apart. In our office, we use Cutera Excel V laser for our vein treatments. The results can be dramatic. To view some actual results use this link to see our gallery of pictures http://www.glaciermedgroup.com/contents/client-info/gallery.
Varicose Veins are larger veins that tend to bulge and can be twisting around the legs.These tend to be symptomatic causing pain and swelling in the legs. Other symptoms that you may have are restless legs, aching and legs cramps. The symptoms tend to be worse with prolonged standing or sitting. Over time the veins worsen and dark coloring of the lower legs called hemosiderosis can occur. This is a permanent effect of the disease. The skin overlying the veins can thin and ulceration can occur. This will be very hard to heal without treating the underlying vein disease. We will evaluate your veins with an ultrasound that will tell us where your veins are not working and gives me roadmap to treat your veins. Most treatments are done in the office.
Vein Ablation is the main treatment for larger varicose veins. I use the ClosureFast system by Covidien and have been using this for more than a decade. This catheter closes off the non-working veins so the blood reroutes into the veins that are working. This makes the larger bulging varicose veins decrease and in many cases they go away. We can also inject those veins or do a very small incision to remove them called phlebectomy. These procedures are usually pre-approved with your insurance provider and are covered by most insurance plans.
There are very few risks with these procedures and almost no downtime after ablation and you can return to activities in a day or so. I have personally undergone ablations and I was able to get back to working the very next day! A consultation can be done to determine the type of veins you have and the best treatment options for you. For more information and to book online visit us at http://www.glaciermedgroup.com/services/varicose-veins.