Have your varicose veins started to become painful, hard to look at? Are you ready to consider treatment to help prevent them from getting worse?
While we say to always consult your doctor for any treatment recommendations, we wanted to highlight a few treatments that we at Virginia Vein Care believes you should try to avoid and, if recommended, then to seek a second opinion. These treatments are either unnecessarily painful or ineffective in treating the causes and appearance of varicose veins.
Treatments to Avoid
Surface Laser or Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is a common treatment for removal of delicate spider veins. It’s not recommended by us because it’s not as effective as sclerotherapy (which we’ll cover down below) and can be very painful. You also risk the possibility of damage or burn to the skin.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is another treatment that is very popular and performed in many clinics. However, we are of the opinion that it is unnecessarily painful and there are other, newer, treatments that are just as effective in achieving the same end result.
Last but not least, many people try to resort to creams and ointments to help reduce the appearance of their spider or varicose veins. There are no creams or ointments in existence that can effectively get rid of these venous abnormalities because they do not treat the root cause.
Effective & Recommended Treatments
Endovenous ablation, which can be either radiofrequency, laser or chemical, is the most commonly recommended treatment for venous disease. All of these modalities have slight differences but they are all non-invasive, easy office procedures with no restriction of activity or recovery time. Laser ablation (EVLA) and Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) involve placing a small fiber directly into the faulty vein. The heat energy from the fiber collapses the unhealthy valves and the destroyed veins are then absorbed by your body. Chemical ablation, also painless, involves having the faulty vein absorbed after it comes in contact with an abrasive solution.
Sclerotherapy is a series of microinjections of a solution called ‘sclerosant’ into the residual varicose or spider veins. The solution closes off the veins with the abnormal valves, and over time, the treated veins shrink and are absorbed by the body. The ‘sclerosant’ solution may either come as a manufactured aerosol or be prepared in the office. The proper solution to use is determined by the size of the target vein.
While endovenous ablation modalities and sclerotherapy are most popular, they’re not the only available options. Vein Gogh is a medical device that was developed to use thermocoagulation (surgical coagulation, or “blood clotting”, by application of heat) to destroy very small spider veins.
Another form of treatment is with compression stockings. This is frequently the initial course of treatment for patients with varicose veins and symptoms of venous insufficiency. Most insurance companies require initial treatment with compression stockings and they are a valuable and necessary adjunct to treatment. These stockings increase your blood flow and push vein blood back towards your heart, which can provide relief from symptoms pretty quickly. Oftentimes, these stockings are recommended in combination with endovenous ablation or sclerotherapy. A very new form of treatment does not require concomitant use of compression stockings.
Please consult your doctor for the best treatment recommendation, or if you’d like to arrange an office consultation or a free online consultation with a board certified physician at Virginia Vein Care, visit our website here. We have made it easy for you to get started with us online too, you can send in your information and photos through our secure Online Vein Screening and Dr. Markovitz or Dr. Rothstein will call you to discuss your options at no charge to you.