Varicose Veins Laser Treatment
What Are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are very common condition. They affect approximately 20 percent of population, both men and women.
Varicose veins are the blue or purplish enlarged veins that you can typically see bulging out in size on your legs. They are easy to spot because they appear twisted and bulging. Most common spot for appearance of varicose veins is inside the leg or on the backs of claves, but they can form anywhere; from groin to ankle.
Term “varicose” is derived for the Latin root “varix”, which is translated as “twisted”. Any vein in the body may become varicose, although this condition is most often in the legs and feet. Standing and walking increases the pressure in the veins in the lower half of the body, therefore varicose veins occur in those regions.
For many people this condition, as well as spider veins (smaller and more common variation of varicose veins), is firstly matter of cosmetic nature, a problem that makes them feel less attractive. In reality, this condition may cause aching pain and discomfort, and lead to serious problems if left untreated. Also, this condition may be an indicator of higher risk of other disorders of circulatory and cardiovascular system.
Is There a Way to Prevent Varicose Veins?
For prevention of varicose veins you can wear compression stockings and change certain habits in your lifestyle.
What Are the Symptoms of Varicose Veins?
Some people do not experience any discomfort caused by varicose veins, others do. Those symptoms may include:
- Heavy feeling in legs and achiness, burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in lower legs.
- Itching around one or more veins in lower legs.
- Restless legs.
- Darkening of the skin (severe cases).
- Skin ulcer near ankle – which is a severe form of vascular condition and requires immediate medical attention.
If you have varicose veins you should avoid prolonged sitting and standing.
What Are Possible Risk Factors for Developing Varicose Veins?
There are some known risk factors that can increase chances of developing varicose veins:
- Age – normal process of aging causes valves in the veins, which regulate blood flow, to tear and wear off, therefore to malfunction.
- Genetics – heredity plays a big role when it comes to chances for developing varicose veins.
- Gender – women are more prone to develop varicose veins and spider veins, attributed to hormonal changes during pregnancy, premenstrual or menopause. Also, use of hormone replacement therapy or birth control pill may increase the risk.
- Pregnancy – due to huge increase of the amount of blood in the body, veins can enlarge. Growing uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Usually, varicose veins may improve 3 months after delivery. Each additional pregnancy may cause more and more veins to appear.
- Obesity – extra weight puts more pressure on the body and its cardiovascular system.
- Lack of movement – sitting or standing for long periods of time may force your veins to work harder in order to pump blood to your heart. Sitting with legs bent or crossed may make this problem worse.
- Sun exposure – can cause spider veins on cheeks and nose in fair skinned individuals.
Why Choose Varicose Veins Laser Treatment?
There are several methods of treating varicose veins, but laser treatments have rapidly became gold standard because they are easy, fast and effective. Laser therapy has been used in medicine more than 30 years.
Statistics have showed that only in about 4 % of patients treated for varicose veins with lasers, condition will reappear.
Varicose veins laser treatment is a non surgical alternative to surgical stripping for varicose veins. Treating varicose veins using laser treatment is a simple procedure that typically takes less than an hour to perform and allows fast recovery.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Varicose Veins Laser Treatment?
Each patient is evaluated before any procedure. You should be prepared to discuss your detailed medical history with your surgeon for your safety and in order to achieve best possible results.
Most patients are suitable for this form of treatment.
However, there should not be any blood clots in the deep veins of the leg (a condition called deep vein thrombosis). Also, it is not safe to perform this procedure during pregnancy and in the patients that have extreme poor health or are non ambulatory.
How Should You Prepare for Varicose Veins Laser Treatment?
At your consultation, your surgeon will assess your physical and emotional health, review your health history, and discuss your goals. He/she will recommend a course of treatment to help you meet your goals and explain the various surgical options available to you, the potential risks and complications, and the likely outcomes. Any questions that you may have can be brought up at this time.
There is no prior preparation required before laser therapy.
How Is Varicose Veins Laser Treatment Performed?
Veins laser treatment is quick, minimally invasive alternative to traditional surgical procedures. It leaves no scarring and is performed under local anesthesia.
The treatment takes less than an hour.
Firstly, local anesthetic is applied to the area to be treated. Then, a thin laser fiber is inserted into vein using a special tube called a sheath. Once fiber is properly positioned, laser energy in slow pulses is applied as the physician slowly pulls the fibers trough the length of the vein. The laser energy, delivered, in short pulses, heats the vein walls, damages them and makes the shrink. This causes the faulty vein to collapse and stops the blood flow through it. Once faulty veins are sealed shut, healthy veins take over and redirect blood flow toward the hearth.
What Is Recovery Like After Varicose Veins Laser Treatment?
There is no recovery time after this treatment. Patients are encouraged to walk immediately after the procedure and return to normal activities right away.
However, serious physical activity should be avoided for 3 to 4 weeks. There may be some bruising or soreness of a few days. Walking and prescriptions pain killers will help to relieve any discomfort.
How Successful Is Varicose Veins Laser Treatment?
Success rates have been as high as those of surgical procedures. This type of treatment treats most varicose veins successfully, but additional therapy may be needed in some cases.
There are no long term results available, but short and medium term results are quite good. According to one study the veins were successfully closed in 98% of 500 patients at one month and 93 % at two years.
Are There Any Possible Complications From This Procedure?
There are possible complications with any medical procedure. Your physician will spend time discussing these with you during your scheduled consultation. Be sure to bring a list of questions or concerns with you. All patients are instructed to discuss the general risks with their physician.
However, only minimal complications can be experienced with this procedure. Those may include: vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, infection, hematoma, skin burns and paresthesia.
You can reduce your risks by closely following your physician’s advice both before and after the procedure. Good communication between doctor and patient is always important. We encourage you to talk with us about all of your questions and concerns.