Treatment Options and Recovery
Varicose Vein Removal Alternatives
Ligation and vein stripping (varicose vein surgery) had historically been the primary treatment option for varicose veins, prior to the arrival of minimally-invasive options like the VenaCure EVLT procedure. Ligation & stripping can be performed individually or together.
The great saphenous vein is ligated (or tied off) near the groin to control gravitational flow of blood backward into the legs. Ligation alone can preserve the vein for subsequent harvesting in case of arterial bypass. However, ligation alone has proven unsatisfactory for preventing the occurrence of reflux, so it is often supplemented by vein stripping. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia, may involve a hospital stay and involves pain, scarring and lost days from work.
Minimally Invasive Therapies
Minimally invasive techniques are quickly replacing invasive surgeries for many types of therapies. Varicose vein treatment is one of those areas where advancements in technology have enabled physicians to simplify treatment. Typically, minimally invasive procedures do not require hospital stays and use local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia, thereby reducing the risk of some complications associated with anesthesia.
Endovenous laser treatment is a minimally invasive varicose vein treatment alternative to the more traditional method of ligation and vein stripping.
A thin fiber is inserted into the damaged vein via a very small skin nick. Laser light energy, the same type of energy that is used in other types of medical procedures such as eye surgery and dermatology, is delivered to the targeted tissue, which reacts with the light, causing the vein to close and seal shut.
The veins that are closed are superficial veins that handle less than five percent of the body's blood flow. The blood is automatically routed to other, healthy veins. The VenaCure EVLT system uses this technology to treat varicose veins.
Endovenous radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a varicose vein treatment alternative which involves insertion of a catheter with electrodes into the target vein and passage of RF energy (electricity) through the vein tissue. In recent years, endovenous laser therapy has surpassed radiofrequency vein ablation as the predominant minimally-invasive varicose vein ablation procedure due to the improved outcomes and decreased complications with the VenaCure EVLT procedure.
Compression stockings or compression therapy are often a first line of defense in treating venous conditions. They are commonly required by insurers prior to approval for the VenaCure EVLT procedure reimbursement. Although compression stockings may alleviate some of the symptoms of venous disease, they do not directly treat its underlying cause (reflux or failed valves) and thus the disease,and symptoms, often get worse, despite their use.
There are various types of compression stockings in a variety of stylish alternatives. Lower compression stockings (for milder conditions) can be purchased without a prescription. AngioDynamics recommends use of Jobst compression stockings, the #1 physician recommended brand in the US. To locate a store near you that sells Jobst stockings, please visit http://www.jobst-usa.com/.
Gradient compression stockings give a gentle squeeze at the ankles and up the legs to get your blood flowing back toward your heart. Gradient compression delivers a squeezing to the leg that is tightest at the ankle. The degree of squeezing or compression gradually decreases up the leg. This compression, is generally expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury).
A complete understanding of precisely how compression works remains unknown. Two actions are generally accepted. Probably the most beneficial effects of compression stockings are their effects on the capillaries and tissue spaces. Compression is believed to increase the pressure in the tissues beneath the skin thus reducing excess leakage of fluid from the capillaries and increasing absorption of tissue fluid by the capillaries and lymphatic vessels. Compression stockings therefore reduce and helps prevent swelling.
The physical presence of the compression stocking also helps control the size (diameter) of superficial veins beneath.